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Bauzon, Caloocan Supremos stay ahead of Manila after road win in Pateros


Caloocan-Gerry’s Grill held on to a close 68-61 road win against home team Pateros-Metro Asia to boost its playoff hopes in the Metro League Reinforced (Second) Conference Saturday night at the MetroAsia Arena in Pasig City.

After figuring in a neck-and-neck battle in the first three quarters, the Supremos gained steam just in time in the payoff period behind Johnnel Bauzon and Michael De Leon to salvage a hard-earned win.

In a similar game, Manila-INGCO also survived Solid San Juan 94-89 to bolster its own post-season chances after a slow 0-2 start in this import-laden M-League tourney that is backed by the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA), the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) and with Barangay 143 as league presentor.

With Caloocan holding to a 51-50 lead entering the final canto, Bauzon took matters into his own hands, leading the squad’s late-game push highlighted by crucial back-to-back hits to make it a 67-59 lead in the last 33 seconds.

That proved to be the separation the Supremos were looking for all-game long on their way to a close victory that pushed their slate to 4-2 in the North Division of the M-League that is also bankrolled by Synergy 88, World Balance, Excellent Noodles and San Miguel Corporation.

Bauzon and De Leon tallied 16 and 15 points, respectively, to spearhead the attack of Caloocan which now gained a share of North Division lead with Quezon City, both teams toting 4-2 slates.

Moreover, the win also pushed the Supremos on the cusp of securing a playoff berth and an all-important twice-to-beat incentive in the Division semis.

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The MetroAsia-backed Pateros, meanwhile, took a major a blow to its playoff chance with now a 1-6 card in the South Division of the M-League which also has SMS Global Technologies, Inc. as official livestream and technology partner, Spalding as official ball, Team Rebel Sports as official outfitter, and PLDT as official internet provider.

Meanwhile, Manila-INGCO Stars needed one last run, in the end, to repel a gritty Solid San Juan side to finally move into .500 of the North Division with a 3-3 record.

Francis Camacho racked up 16 points, five rebounds and two assists for the Stars who nearly wasted a 12-point lead, 90-78, in the last three minutes.

Led by Joggy Laude and Argel Mendoza with 12 and 11 markers respectively, nine more local players scored in double figures for Manila to fill up the shoes of struggling import Moustaph Arafat who bled for just seven points and five rebounds.

American reinforcement Raymond Miller, for his part, had 25 points and 18 boards in a losing effort for Solid San Juan which fell to 2-5 in the South Division of the M-League which is also supported by Gerry’s Grill, Summit Water, Alcoplus, Nature’s Spring and Goodfellow.

The Scores:

First Game:

Manila-INGCO 94 — Camacho 16, Laude 12, Mendoza 11, Acibar 9, Acosta 9, Celada 9, Lastimosa 8, Yu 8, Arafat 7, King 4, Balagtas 0, Manalo 0

Solid San Juan 89 — Miller 25, Dada 14, Castro 11, Clarianes 8, Jacunap 8, Astrero 7, Abanes 5, Matias 4, Saret 4, Bautista 0, Danas 0

Quarterscores: 20-14, 50-47, 76-70, 94-89

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Second Game:

Caloocan-Gerry’s Grill 68 — Bauzon 16, De Leon 15, Niang 12, De Mesa 11, Darang 8, Brutas 4, Sombero 2, Ngo 0, Ortiz 0

Pateros-Metro Asia 61 — Velchez 16, Gerero 12, Flores 11, Asis 5, Arellano 5, Mabazza 5, Pacleb 4, Marcial 3, Go 0, Anasco 0, Espiras 0

Quarterscores: 21-20, 40-35, 51-50, 68-61

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