Propelled by Jeff Viernes’ record-breaking 50-point performance, Sarangani stunned Nueva Ecija in double overtime, winning 134-123 on Saturday in the OKBet-MPBL Fifth Season at the Quezon Convention Center in Lucena City.
Viernes scored 19 points, including 17 consecutive points, in the second overtime, breaking John Wilson’s 44-point individual scoring league record set in 2019.
This loss handed defending champion Nueva Ecija their first defeat after winning 11 games in the single round-robin elimination phase of the 29-team tournament.
After the excitement of witnessing Viernes’ remarkable shooting (9 out of 14 from beyond the arc and 17 out of 19 free throws), the fans then witnessed the General Santos Warriors overwhelming Pasig City MCW Sports, winning 91-76, and the San Juan Knights trouncing the Quezon Huskers, winning 98-69.
Powered by Wilson’s 31-point explosion and Jervy Cruz’s 16-point effort, the Warriors surged ahead beyond reach, leading 81-64, and improved their record to 8-3, matching the Knights’ performance.
Pasig, now standing at 8-5, received 16 points from Robbie Manalang, 12 from Kenny Roger Rocacurva, and 10 from Ryan Costelo.
Taking advantage of the depleted Huskers, who were missing injured players Will Gozum, Jeric Teng, and Thomas Torres, the Knights established a commanding lead of 33 points, 98-65, and pushed Quezon down to an 8-4 record.
Adrian Nocum led San Juan with 20 points, followed by Orlan Wamar with 16 points, 10 assists, and 5 rebounds. Egie Boy Mojica contributed 11 points, while Reeve Ugsang and Ron Dennison scored 10 each.
Only Alfrancis Tamsi managed to score in double digits for Quezon with 16 points.
In addition to Viernes, who also recorded 8 assists, 4 rebounds, and 3 steals, Sarangani relied on JP Cauilan, who contributed 23 points, including a crucial three-pointer that forced the game into overtime at 97-97.
Will McAloney forced the second overtime, tying the score at 108-108 with an inside drive for Nueva Ecija, who rallied from a 67-43 halftime deficit.
However, after that, Viernes took over.