In a battle between two northern powerhouses in the MPBL, defense proved to be the difference.
Reigning MPBL Datu Cup Defensive Player of the Year Aris Dionisio provided the heroics for the Manila-Frontrow Stars to seal an 86-85 squeaker against the Quezon City-Wemsap Capitals, Wednesday evening at the Ynares Sports Center in Antipolo City.
With Manila holding a solitary point lead with eight ticks left, QC’s John Tayongtong was able to pick the pockets of Chris Bitoon. Tayongtong then threw an outlet to a wide open PJ Barua.
Little did Barua know that Dionisio was lurking in the background.
As Barua soared through the air for a layup, Dionisio was right behind him, swatting away Barua’s attempt to seal the win.
Dionisio had 21 points, 12 rebounds, and two blocks in Manila’s first game in the Lakandula Cup.
Manila was down by as much as 15 points in the contest. The duo of Marvin Lee and Carlo Lastimosa led the comeback with the former finishing with 17 points spiked by four triples while the latter finishing with 12 markers.
Dionisio also provided the go-ahead bucket after stealing the ball from Tayongtong with 11 seconds left that led to a layup.
Mark Dyke also proved to be the perfect partner for Dionisio as the former DLSU Green Archer tallied nine points and seven rebounds.
Tayongtong scattered 16 points and nine assists for Quezon City while Jomar Santos added 12 points, 14 rebounds, and five blocks.
In the second game, Makati Super Crunch decimated the Rizal-Xentro Mall Crusaders, 73-51.
Joseph Sedurifa led all scorers with 15 markers while Jeckster Apinan tallied 10 points and 10 rebounds.
Makati led by as much as 28 points in the contest, 73-45, after Sedurifa triple with 2:54 left.
John Rey Villanueva was the constant for Makati, playing all 40 minutes of the game and finishing with 14 markers. Kib Montalbo added eight points, four assists, and four steals.
Mark Benitez was the sole bright spot for Rizal as he finished with 13 points and 11 rebounds.
Manila 86 – Dionisio 21, Lee 17, Lastimosa 12, Dyke 9, Bitoon 8, Matias 5, Go 4, Montilla 3, Sabelina 2, Bringas 2, Arellano 2, Lopez 1, Laude 0.
Quezon City 85 – Tayongtong 16, Gonzaga 14, Santos 12, Derigue 12, Barua 8, Black 7, Carongoy 7, Mabayo 6, Caranguian 0, Castro 0, Medina 0, Gadon 0.
Quarterscores: 17-24, 45-45, 68-70, 86-85.
Makati 73 – Sedurifa 15, Villanueva 14, Apinan 10, Montalbo 8, Ablaza 7, Cruz 6, Baloria 4, Lingganay 4, Importante 3, Manlangit 2, Atkins 0, Torralba 0, Cayanan 0, Morales 0, Lloren 0.
Rizal 51 – Benitez 13, Regalado 9, Rios 8, Bacay 5, Vidal 4, Panganiban 4, Inigo 3, Cabanog 2, Gregorio 2, Leynes 1, Raflores 0, Casajeros 0, Lacastesantos 0, Martin 0.
Quarterscores: 20-14, 33-22, 56-36, 73-51.