Quezon City clinched a playoff berth after crushing Pateros-Metro Asia 100-86 in the Metro League Reinforced (Second) Conference Thursday night at the San Andres Sports Complex in Manila.
The Junior Capitals cruised to a solid start, leading by as much 16 points in the early goings en route to the blowout victory that enabled them to improve to a 5-2 record and seal a semifinal spot in the North Division of M-League that is backed by the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA), the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) and with Barangay 143 as league presentor.
Meanwhile, Valenzuela-San Marino boosted its playoffs bid with a 77-52 manhandling of Manila-INGCO.
Behind frontliners Kojack Melegrito and Michael Macaballug, Quezon City unloaded an opening 22-6 salvo to immediately pull away in the first quarter.
The Junior Capitals continued to flash their offensive arsenal to peg its largest lead at 78-51 on Melegrito’s triple and practically seal the result with still 1:30 left in the third period.
Melegrito fired a game-high 22 points spiked by four treys while former University of the Philippines standouts Ibrahim Ouattara and JJ Española tallied 15 and 13 markers, respectively.
Macaballug chipped in 11 points even as the seven other cagers deployed added at least two markers in the win.
Alexander James Asis had 17 points while Iñigo Arellano and Eric Mabazza had 13 markers each for Pateros, which virtually bowed out of contention with a 1-7 record in the South Division of M-League which is bankrolled Synergy 88, World Balance, Excellent Noodles and San Miguel Corporation.
In the second game, Valenzuela banked on a balanced attack to batter fellow contender Manila and solidify its playoff chances.
Reneford Ruaya racked up a game-best 14 points to lead three other players in double figures as Valenzuela upped its card to 4-3 in the North Division of M-League that 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 service provider.
Erwin Sta. Maria chalked up 13 points, Jeric Diego drilled in a 10-marker, 10-board double-double and Josiah Jerold Esplana also contributed 10 points in the lopsided triumph.
Valenzuela got off to a searing 21-5 start on Sta. Maria’s layup and never looked back.
The reigning all-Filipino champion team of head coach Gerry Esplana enjoyed its biggest buffer at 27 points late in the game.
Ex-PBA player Ronnie Matias was the lone double-digit scorer with 13 points for Manila, which skidded to 3-5 in the import-laden second conference of the M-League, which is also supported by Gerry’s Grill, Summit Water, Alcoplus, Nature’s Spring and Goodfellow.
Quezon City 100 – Melegrito 22, Ouattara 15, Española 13, Macaballug 11, Asuncion 9, Delos Reyes 7, Comia 6, Vasallo 6, Barraquias 4, Estoce 3, Riva 2
Pateros-Metro Asia 86 – Asis 17, Arellano 13, Mabazza 13, Go 12, Gerero 10, Quinga 9, Flores 5, Marcial 4, Pacleb 3, Anasco 0
Quarterscores: 26-13, 48-34, 78-54, 100-86
Valenzuela-San Marino 77 – Ruaya 14, Sta. Maria 13, Diego 10, Esplana 10, Rivera 8, Dela Cruz 6, Kalaw 6, Tayongtong 4, Monteclaro 3, Pascua 3, Gamboa 0
Manila-INGCO 52 – Matias 13, King 7, Acibar 6, Celada 6, Laude 6, Alban 5, Castro 4, Camacho 3, Arafat 2, Acosta 0, Balagtas 0, Manalo 0, Mendoza 0
Quarterscores: 23-9, 34-27, 50-37, 77-52