Gabby Espinas had a stellar MPBL debut, helping the Manila-Frontrow Stars bring down Marikina, 107-96, in the 2019-20 MPBL Lakan Cup at the Angeles University Foundation Arena in Pampanga.
It was the fifth straight victory of the Stars, who improved their win-loss record to 7-1 and firmed their grip of the solo second spot in the Northern Division of the league,.
Espinas ended up with seven points and grabbed 10 rebounds. He joined a team already stacked in talent.
A six-time PBA champion, Espinas even took the backseat on offense as six players ended up in double figures for the Stars led by Carlo Lastimosa.
Lastimosa drilled in 22 points while Gian Abrigo produced 13. Marvin Hayes and Aris Dionisio tallied 12 apiece, Chris Bitoon had 11 and Marvin Lee chipped in 10 as the Stars showed their firepower to the hilt in dealing the Shoemasters their seventh loss in as many games.
Marikina matched its seven-game losing skid last season and remained as one of only two winless squads in the league.
Pampanga and Bulacan also carved out similar victories in the other games.
Host squad Giant Lanterns, supported by ADG Construction, edged the Valenzuela Classic, 77-74.
Mark Cruz delivered four crucial free throws and came away with a big steal that helped the Giant Lanterns in getting back on track the win column. Pampanga improved its win-loss record to 5-3 and stayed at sixth of the tough northern division.
Cruz had 17 points while Michael Juico also had the same amount of points.
Valenzuela, who fell to 4-5, was led by Reneford Ruaya’s 16 points and 12 rebounds. Paulo Hubalde added 15 markers.
Bulacan nipped Binan City, 87-82, as Gwynne Capacio returned and provided the spark for the Kuyas in the first game of the day.
Capacio had 11 points in just eight minutes of game time while Dan Sara led the way with 19 points, nine rebounds, and six assists. Bulacan raised its record to 4-4.
Binan, who fell to 3-6, had Macky Acosta lead the way with 18 points.
Bulacan 87 – Sara 19, Santos 16, Siruma 15, Capacio 11, Arim 6, Dela Cruz 4, Taganas 4, Diputado 4, Escosio 2, Bonsubre 2, De Mesa 2, Alabanza 2, Nermal 0.
Binan City 82 – Acosta 18, Neypes 14, Bautista 11, Mangahas J. 10, Parala 9, Stevens 5, Adolfo 3, Mangahas A. 3, Castanares 3, Orera 3, Rivera 3.
Quarterscores: 17-16, 41-39, 61-62, 87-82.
Manila 107 – Lastimosa 22, Abrigo 13, Hayes 12, Dionisio 12, Bitoon 11, Lee 10, Espinas 7, Go 9, Dyke 5, Arellano 4, Sabellana 2, Lopez 0, Montilla 0, Fortuna 0.
Marikina 95 – Sazon 24, Rebugio 19, Tambeling 18, Pascual 14, Calaguio 5, Campos 4, Salvador 4, Gonzales 3, Padua 2, Dysam 2, Gines 0, Dela Pena 0, Espanola 0.
Quarterscores: 19-24, 50-44, 80-76, 107-95.
Pampanga 77 – Juico 17, Cruz 17, Thompson 11, Maiquez 9, Cervantes 7, Fabian 5, Apreku 4, Hernandez 3, Alberto 2, Salcedo 1, Gomez 0, Baltazar 0.
Valenzuela 74 – Ruaya 16, Hubalde 15, Catacutan 9, De Chavez Ch. 8, Pagcalinawan 8, Alcober 4, Thiele 4, De Chavez Ca. 3, Andaya 3, Gimpayan 2, Varilla 0, Sta. Maria 0, Kalaw 0.
Quarterscores: 19-17, 36-39, 57-54, 77-74.
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