Playing for pride, Valenzuela-Carga Backload Solutions gave its home crowd something to celebrate, surviving an 81-77 scare from the also-ran Rizal-Xentro Mall in the 2019-20 Chooks-to-Go/MPBL Lakan Cup at the Valenzuela Astrodome, Friday.
The Classic were knocked off the playoff race after suffering an 83-88 upset loss to Navotas last January 10. Still, Valenzuela head coach Ronjay Enrile made sure that they would play on to honor their fans in their final home game.
“Even though you are down, the support is very overwhelming. Kaya sabi nga namin ibigay na namin sa kanila ‘yung natitira naming games. Para sa kanila lahat ‘to,” said Enrile.
Down by as much as 11 points in the final quarter, Rizal’s Rexander Leynes and Jack Hoyohoy spearheaded an 11-0 attack to tie the scores at 71-all. After exchanging points with the home team, Joemari Lacastesantos and Jordan Rios hit consecutive buckets to finally take the lead, 75-73.
Paolo Hubalde then took matters into his own hands, drilling a crucial jumper for Valenzuela which knotted the scores at 75-all. Hubalde then hit a three-pointer to put the Classic ahead by three, 78-75.
Lacastesantos was able to push Rizal to within one, but Jayson Varilla slammed the doors on the visitors with a three-pointer with 1:30 remaining on the clock, sealing the game for Valenzuela.
Hubalde, who had been with Valenzuela from the very start, shouldered the scoring load, pouring 27 points, nine rebounds, and for assists to tow the Carga Backload Solutions-backed squad to an 11-16 win-loss slate.
Ford Ruaya added 11 points and six rebounds, while Andrey Armenion had eight points, four boards, and three steals.
Mark Benitez, meanwhile, had a double-double of 19 points and 11 rebounds to lead the 4-20 Golden Coolers, who are now dead last in the North.
Valenzuela-Carga Backload Solutions (81) – Hubalde 27, Ruaya 11, Mabigat 8, Asuncion 8, Armenion 8, Varilla 6, Ricafort 5, Sta. Maria 5, Acuna 3, Gimpayan 0, Santos 0
Rizal-Xentro Mall (77) – Benitez 19, Vidal 15, Hoyohoy 10, Leynes 9, Rios 6, Lacastesantos 6, Casajeros 6, Raflores 4, Gregorio 2, Martin 0, Rosales 0, Regalado 0, Butel 0
Quarterscores: 29-13, 41-41, 66-57, 81-77