MANILA — With Jong Baloria in the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League, many Pampanga fans looked at a possibility of him dropping his 500th point in the league on Thursday night near its home.
Instead, it was Jeric Fabian and Levi Hernandez who went on a tear.
Fabian played his best game so far in the MPBL, leading the Lanterns to a 75-58 win over the Laguna Heroes at the Bulacan Capitol Gymnasium in Malolos.
Fabian caught fire for Pampanga in what was otherwise a slow first quarter for the team in scoring, making eight of the team’s 12 points in the said period.
But it was the defense that dictated the tempo for the team, limiting Laguna to just eight points after the first quarter and 18 for the entire first half as its offense began to pick up.
The Lanterns’ offense went full bloom in the third quarter, dropping 25 points, with Levi Hernandez tallying 12 of the said points to pull away for good from the Heroes.
Hernandez finished with 18 points, four rebounds, and three assists.
Fabian added a career-high 17 points, three rebounds, three assists, and one steal for Pampanga, which moved up to ninth place in the Northern Division at 6-10, a half-game behind Valenzuela for eighth spot.
Baloria, who needed 27 points to breach the 500-point mark, only made three markers, although he also has three boards, three dimes, and two steals.
Michael Mabulac made 11 points, 15 rebounds, two assists, one block, and one steal for Laguna, which fell to 7-9. (PNA)