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Tiebreaker Times


Dexter Maiquez confident Pampanga will shine brighter next MPBL season

Expect Pampanga-ADG Group to come back stronger next season.

That was Dexter Maiquez’s statement after crashing out of the 2020 Chooks-to-Go MPBL playoffs. The Green Lanters fell prey to North king San Juan-Go for Gold, 91-83, in Game Two, Wednesday at the San Andres Sports Complex.

“We fell short, pero babalik kami stronger next season. Doon lang kami naka-focus next season — to be stronger.”

Heading into their semifinals tussle with the Knights, the fourth-seeded Giant Lanterns had yet to taste a loss since November 22, 2019, holding a 10-game winning streak.

“Achievement pa rin para sa amin ito kasi from nothing last season, naging fourth seed tapos umabot sa semis.”

But the defending champions showed their might and mettle, escaping Pampanga in Game One off a Mike Ayonayon buzzer-beater, 86-84, before finishing the series in Game Two.

The Guagua, Pampanga native led the way for the Giant Lanterns, dropping 18 points on 8-of-14 shooting, 11 rebounds, two assists, and a steal. But his double-double performance was not enough to save his squad from being eliminated.

The 6-foot-3 bruiser admitted that the first quarter ejection of Michael Juico due to punching became a game-changer.

“Sobrang masakit sa amin kasi siya ‘yung missing piece namin ngayon. Emotions siguro kaya nangyari.”

With the next season far and away, Pampanga already has its eyes on a comeback against San Juan.

“Alam namin na kaya namin’ yung San Juan eh. Ngayon pa lang, gusto na namin bumawi.”

Story by Justin Valencia
Photos by Thel Suliva

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