Bacoor and Batangas secured breezy victories, maintaining their lofty spots in the OKBet-MPBL (Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League) Fifth Season at the Bacoor Strike Gym in Cavite.
Flaunting the depth of their roster, the Bacoor Strikers smothered the Bicol Volcanoes, 113-75, in the nightcap, while Batangas City Embassy Chill duplicated the dominance with a 105-74 drubbing of Bacolod City of Smiles in the opener.
Both the Strikers and the Athletics improved their records to 17-4, sharing the lead in the South division of the 29-team tournament during its round-robin elimination phase.
With another big crowd cheering them on, the Strikers decisively secured the victory early in the fourth quarter, 87-43, before easing off to bury the Volcanoes, who now hold a league-worst 1-21 card.
Bacoor Coach Alex Angeles took the opportunity to rotate his 15 players, all of whom contributed after being given over 11 minutes of exposure each.
Homegrown players Rocky Acidre and James Kwekuteye led the Strikers with 14 points each, while Salvador Galit added 12 points, and Alwyn Alday and Jhan McHale Nermal both scored 11 points.
On the other hand, the hapless Volcanoes received 24 points and 10 rebounds from Alfren Gayosa and 20 points from Redel Fabro.
Meanwhile, Batangas Coach Cholo Villanueva employed a similar strategy, but two of the 14 players fielded were unable to deliver as the Athletics built a commanding 100-66 lead.
Juneric Baloria led Batangas with 20 points, supported by MJ Dela Virgen with 17 points, Jeckster Apinan with 13 points, Rhaffy Octobre with 12 points, Levi Hernandez with 11 points, and JohnRey Villanueva with 10 points.
Bacolod, which now holds a 9-13 record, had 15 points from Chris Menguez, 14 points from Dom Matillano, and 10 points from Andretti Stevens.
Meanwhile, Sarangani subdued Valenzuela, 107-98, boosting its playoff drive with a 9-13 slate.
Alex Desoyo and Jeff Comia powered the Marlins with 18 and 17 points, respectively, supported by JC Escalambre with 15 points, Reggz Gabat with 13 points, and JP Cauilan with 11 points.
Despite AJ Benson’s impressive 22-point, 7-rebound, 7-assist, and 5-steal effort, Valenzuela fell to 3-8.
The MPBL action returns to the Imus Sports Complex on Wednesday with a triple bill featuring Oriental Mindoro against Marikina at 4 p.m., Quezon City against Pasig at 6 p.m., and Bulacan against Imus at 8 p.m.