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Tiebreaker Times


MPBL: Bottle-throwing incident mars Pampanga win over Sarangani

Pampanga showcased their dominance by overcoming Sarangani, 99-92, on Friday in an exhilarating match at the Bren Guiao Convention Center in San Fernando.

This victory extended Pampanga’s impressive winning streak in the OKBet-MPBL (Maaharlika Pilipinas Basketball League) Fifth Season, much to the delight of the packed arena.

Led by the exceptional performances of Justine Baltazar, the Giant Lanterns started the game with a 12-point burst in the first quarter, pulling ahead at 84-72.

Later, Louie Sangalang and Baltazar combined for 9 crucial points, neutralizing the Marlins’ final rally at 99-86.

This victory secured Pampanga’s 12th consecutive win in the elimination phase of the 29-team tournament.

In a valiant effort, Sarangani’s Jeff Viernes contributed 27 points, with 8 of them coming in the fourth quarter, bringing his team within reach at 84-88 and 86-90 on a lay-up by Alex Desoyo.

However, Sangalang responded with seven points, and Baltazar added two more to quell Sarangani’s comeback attempt, handing them their seventh loss in 14 games.

Demonstrating why he is the league’s leading scorer and rebounder, the towering 6-foot-8 Baltazar finished the game with an impressive stat line of 22 points, 17 rebounds, and narrowly missed a triple-double with 9 assists.

The former La Salle star and Gilas member also showcased his defensive prowess with 3 steals, playing for more than 37 minutes.

Baltazar received ample support from his teammates, with Jayson Apolonio contributing 21 points, 8 rebounds, and 2 steals.

Kurt Reyson added 17 points to the team’s tally, while Sangalang provided 13 points and 9 rebounds. Archie Concepcion also made valuable contributions with 9 points and 9 rebounds.

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Pampanga dominated the boards, out-rebounding Sarangani 61-37.

On the opposing side, Viernes stood out with his impressive performance, recording 27 points, including 6 three-pointers, along with 8 rebounds and 6 assists.

Desoyo contributed 14 points, while Benjie Jimenez added 13 points and 8 rebounds. Jeff Comia chipped in with 11 points, 7 assists, and 6 rebounds, while Rommel Calahat scored 10 points for Sarangani.

However, the game wasn’t without its tense moments. In the third quarter, tensions escalated between Sarangani’s Ammar Cosari and Baltazar, leading to a confrontation.

The situation intensified when fans threw bottles onto the court, causing a temporary halt in the contest. Pampanga’s head coach and governor Dennis Pineda swiftly intervened by summoning security personnel to remove the unruly spectators and restore order.

In other matches, Nueva Ecija and Quezon Province rebounded from their previous losses with convincing victories.

The Nueva Ecija Rice Vanguards, buoyed by the contributions of Sherwin Concepcion, Kemark Carino, and Roi Sumang, cruised past the Quezon City Gaz N Go with a commanding 95-53 win, improving their record to 12-1.

Sherwin Concepcion made an immediate impact with 15 points, while the 6-foot-8 Carino dominated the paint with 12 points and 15 rebounds.

Michael Juico and Mike Mabulac also made significant contributions, scoring 14 and 11 points, respectively.

Meanwhile, the Quezon Huskers subdued the Manila Stars, 73-62, to rise to 9-4.

Raffy Verano paced Quezon with 18 points, followed by Ximone Sandagon with 12 and Rodel Gravera 10.

The MPBL visits the Batangas City Coliseum on Saturday with Marikina battling Zamboanga at 4 p.m., GenSan tackling Muntinlupa at 6 p.m., and Bulacan tangling with Batangas at 8 p.m.

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