Muntinlupa and Paranaque pulled off surprises while San Juan lived up to expectations in the OKBet-MPBL (Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League) Fifth Season round-robin elimination round on Friday at the Muntinlupa Sports Complex.
The Muntinlupa Cagers relied on JP Sarao’s layup and John Amores’ two free throws to edge out the Makati OKBet Kings, 67-66.
The Kings went scoreless in the last 4 minutes and 30 seconds, allowing Muntinlupa to rise to 13-10 in the South division.
Makati had one last chance to reverse the outcome, but Rob Celiz missed a layup with 5 seconds to go, leading the Kings to their seventh defeat in 24 starts.
Muntinlupa garnered 16 points and 7 rebounds from John Amores, 13 points from Dave Moralde, 10 points, 5 rebounds, and 5 assists from JL Delos Santos, and 9 points plus 10 rebounds from JP Sarao.
Despite Emman Calo’s 21 points and 7 rebounds, and Billy Robles’ 16-point, 6-rebound effort, Makati’s record fell to 16-7.
Meanwhile, the San Juan Knights trounced Valenzuela XUR Homes Realty Inc., 115-86, to improve their record to 19-4 and solidify their hold on the third spot in the North division of the 29-team tournament.
On the other hand, the Paranaque Patriots scored six points in the final 2 minutes and 12 seconds to thwart the Imus SV Squad, 86-81, and climb to 10-15.
John Anthony Umali led Paranaque with 16 points, followed by Paolo Castro with 14, John Uduba with 12, Jayboy Solis with 11, and Keith Pido with 10.
Imus, which slid to 10-12, received 17 points and 9 rebounds from Nino Canaleta, 14 points from Jimboy Estrada, and 11 points from Jayjay Helterbrand.
San Juan led from the start and extended their lead to 103-66 with contributions from Nikko Panganiban, Zach Huang, Marwin Taywan, AC Soberano, and Orlan Wamar.
Panganiban finished with 16 points, including 3 triples; Huang with 15 points and 7 rebounds; Taywan with 14 points and 9 assists; Soberano with 11 points; and Wamar with 6 points, 15 assists, and 3 steals.
Valenzuela, which is an also-ran, fell to 3-21.
The MPBL heads to the Strike Gymnasium on Saturday with games featuring Quezon City against Negros at 4 p.m., Manila against Zamboanga at 6 p.m., and Quezon Province against Bacoor at 8 p.m.