Zamboanga Family’s Brand Sardines pounced on a cold Batangas City Embassy Chill in the fourth quarter to tally a 63-53 victory and force a Game 3 decider for the South division crown of the OKbet-MPBL (Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League) 4th Season Presented by Xtreme at the people-packed Batangas City Coliseum.
Both teams struggled on offense in the last ten minutes, but the Zamboanguenos’ fared better with 15 points, nine courtesy of Adi Santos, who matched the nine-point output of the entire Batangas crew.
Santos, a former Batangas player, wound up with 13 points and eight rebounds and was named best player of the game.
Jhapz Bautista led the Zamboanga scorers with 17 points, although he was held to three points in the second half.
Zamboanga’s Top Gun Jaycee Marcelino wound up with 12 points, seven rebounds, seven assists, and five steals.
Batangas got 13 points and 10 rebounds from Cedric Ablaza and 11 points and eight rebounds from Jeckster Apinan.
Zamboanga, which lost to Batangas in the series opener, 71-80, at home, will regain the favorites’ role when the series returns to the Vitaliano Agan Coliseum for the concluding Game 3 with the winner advancing to the National Finals against the victor of the North division title series between Nueva Ecija and San Juan.
The Athletics trailed by as far as 9-24, but rallied to knot the count at 28 with 4:03 to go in the second quarter.
Zamboanga regained the lead on two charities by Santos, but Batangas countered with a 6-point run to close the half ahead at 34-30.