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MPBL: Ablaza, Apinan lead Batangas to emotional win over Makati


Exactly 492 days after being dumped by Makati, Cedric Ablaza, Jeckster Apinan, Rudy Lingganay, and Jhong Baloria were finally able to get to close a chapter in their lives.

The quartet powered Batangay City-Embassy Chill to a dominant 93-59 win over their former team Makati MNL Kingpins in the OKbet-Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League 4th season presented by Xtreme, Saturday at Muntinlupa Sports Complex.

Ablaza got 12 points and 10 rebounds; Apinan tallied 10 points, five rebounds, four steals, and three assists; Lingganay chipped nine points and seven assists; while Baloria added eight markers to lead Batangas to its eighth win in as many games.

More importantly, they were able to beat their former team after a controversial exit last year.

Game Three of the MPBL Lakan Northern Finals was held back on March 11, 2021. However, Makati only fielded five players in the do-or-die game against San Juan after a contract dispute with the players.

Makati, then backed by Super Crunch, was blown out by the Knights wasting the season.

Batangas head coach Cholo Villanueva downplayed the emotions his team had heading into the game but was happy for his boys.

“I’m just so happy for my players, especially Ced, Rudy, Jhong, and Jecks, since they finally closed a chapter e,” said Villanueva, who is also a former head coach of Makati. “They have been carrying this for the past year and I’m just proud that they did not let their emotions get in their way in this game.

“They just focused and the result showed it,” added the La Salle product.

#ReadMore  Makati Super Crunch owner says pandemic forced him to cut contracts

It was a dominant wire-to-wire game for Batangas, racing to a 19-9 start and never looking back.

As the minutes went by, the lead only grew wider and wider, reaching a peak of 37 points — which was the final score.

Levi Hernandez led Makati in scoring with 15 points while Dawn Ochea added 11.

“They played for each other in this game,” lauded Villanueva.

Makati, who dropped to 1-9, was led by Jan Sobrevega with 15 points while Larry Arpia added 11 points, seven rebounds, and six assists.

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