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MPBL: Batangas, Bacoor hurdle rivals for share of lead


Batangas City Embassy Chill and Bacoor disposed of their rivals on Monday and caught up with the OKBet-MPBL (Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League) Fifth Season leaders at the Batangas City Coliseum.

The Athletics clamped down on the Iloilo United Royals in the fourth quarter to tally a runaway 78-55 victory in the nightcap, while Bacoor quelled Valenzuela XUR Homes Realty Inc.’s final rally to prevail, 76-68, in the triple-bill opener.

In the other game, Pasig City MCW Sports routed a listless Imus SV Squad, 79-60, behind Kenny Roger Rocacurva to rise to 2-1 and pull down its victim to 1-1.

Rocacurva posted a game-high 18 points, nine rebounds, four assists, and three steals, earning him best player honors for Pasig, which also drew 15 points from Shane Menina, 14 from Robbi Manalang, and 11 points plus eight rebounds from Michael Maestre.

Both Batangas, the 2018 MPBL Rajah Cup champion, and Bacoor, which finally broke its winless spell at the venue, climbed to 3-0 and joined idle Nueva Ecija, Bulacan, and Quezon Province at the helm of the 29-team tournament.

The Batanguenos held the Ilonggos to just five points while unloading 20 of their own in the last 10 minutes to zoom away after a slow start that saw them trail at 16-19.

New acquisition Rhaffy Octobre led Batangas with 14 points, followed by MJ Dela Virgen with 13, including eight in the last quarter, and Jeckster Apinan with 10 plus 13 rebounds, four blocks, and three assists.

Only Genmar Bragais was able to score in twin digits for Iloilo, which paraded Fil-Canadian Noah Korovesi with 11. The 6-foot-3 Korovesi finished with five points and six rebounds in Iloilo’s third straight defeat.

#ReadMore  Salarda, Gentallan tow UV to back-to-back CESAFI crowns

The MPBL goes to the Cuneta Astrodome on Tuesday, with Manila battling Sarangani at 4 p.m., Caloocan tackling Bulacan at 6 p.m., and Marikina tangling with Pasay at 8 p.m.

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