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Tiebreaker Times


MPBL: James Castro tows Bataan past Negros for sixth win

Bataan proved steadier at crunch time and prevailed over Negros, 67-64, on Thursday in the OKBet-MPBL (Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League) Fifth Season at the Bataan People’s Center in Balanga.

Just when the Muscovados threatened at 57-60, Kris Torrado, Ronjay Lastimosa, and Arvie Bringas combined for seven points against a lone basket by Bernie Bregondo as the Risers posted their second straight win and returned to the upper half of the standings with a 6-5 record.

In other games, Caloocan subdued Valenzuela, 83-72, and Marikina trounced Iloilo, 83-71, in the elimination round of the 29-team tournament.

Negros led most of the early part until James Castro turned hot and poured in 12 points in the third quarter to push Bataan ahead for good, 56-42, and pull Negros down to 4-7.

Castro wound up with 14 points, 4 assists, and 3 rebounds to earn the best player honors as no other Riser was able to score in double digits. Jethro Sombero and Robbi Darang came close with 9 points each for Bataan, which trailed by as much as 15-26 midway through the second quarter.

With Jason Melano grabbing 17 rebounds and Bernie Bregondo snagging 12, the Muscovados controlled the boards, 58-41, but Bataan compensated with pesky defense that forced Negros to commit 19 turnovers.

Negros got 20 points from Bregondo, a former Riser, 12 from Edrian Lao, 11 from Jonathan Gantalao Jr., and 9 from Melano.

Although Caloocan led all the way, the Batang Kankaloo needed timely hits from Paul Sanga, Gabby Espinas, and Jeramer Cabanag to quell Valenzuela’s repeated rallies and improve to 7-4.

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Sanga ended up with 20 points, 4 assists, and 3 rebounds, Espinas notched 17 points and 11 rebounds, and Cabanag had 13 points, 4 assists, and 4 rebounds.

Valenzuela, which fell to 1-10, got 19 points from Michael Angelo Macion, 17 from Enjerloo John Diego, and 11 from 6-foot-8 center Tsutomo Tateishi.

The Marikina Shoemasters dominated the Iloilo United Royals underneath, 60-41, behind the 12 rebounds of new acquisition Adzhar Udjan, and pulled away, 60-43, en route to a 4-7 record.

Raymond Casajeros led Marikina with 18 points, RV Berjay with 12, Kyle Tolentino with 10, and Udjan with 10.

Iloilo skidded to 5-6 despite the 24-point effort of Justine Sanchez.

The MPBL heads to the Filoil Ecooil Centre in San Juan on Friday with a triple bill pitting Rizal against Bulacan at 4 p.m., GenSan against Bacoor at 6 p.m., and Makati against San Juan at 8 p.m.

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