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Tiebreaker Times


MPBL: Gabo takes charge as Nueva Ecija fends off Zamboanga-FBS in Game 1

Hesed Gabo struck when needed most as the Nueva Ecija Rice Vanguards subdued Zamboanga Family’s Brand Sardines, 81-75, on Friday night in the opener of their OKbet-MPBL (Maharika Pilipinas Basketball League) 4th Season Presented by Xtreme at the jampacked Nueva Ecija Coliseum in Palayan City.

The crack point guard poured in the points, including a banking dagger triple, that sealed the outcome, 76-67, with only 47 seconds left.

Gabo, a former Mapua Cardinal, wound up with 22 points, 18 in the last 10 minutes, six rebounds, and six assists to earn best player honors and frustrate the Zamboanguenos, who gamely battled the favored Rice Vanguards from the get-go.

Nueva Ecija unleashed a 9-1 run closing the third quarter for a 56-48 lead.

Zamboanga, however, retaliated with a seven-point bomb, through Jaycee Marcelino and Jhapz Bautista, to tighten the game once again, 55-56.

Zamboanga forged the last deadlock at 60, only to be met by a Bryon Villarias triple and 2 charities by Gabo that set the tone of the finish.

Villarias also shone with 19 points while Michael Mabulac contributed 14 points and 5 rebounds before fouling out with 1:25 to go. Will McAloney also did his part with 11 points and five rebounds.

Mabulac became the 13th member of the MPBL 1000-point club and was given the ball he used to score the vital points by Commissioner Kenneth Duremdes.

Zamboanga got 15 points and six rebounds from Chris Dumapig and 12 points each from Marcelino and Jhapz Bautista, while Jayvee Marcelino chipped in 11 points.

Zamboanga barely took the half, 30-29, but Nueva Ecija dropped a 9-1 run to take the third quarter 56-48.

#ReadMore  Veteran Tanduay whips young CEU to enter win column

Nueva Ecija will try to make it back-to-back against Zamboanga in Game 2 on Monday at the same venue.

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