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MPBL: John Wilson, Jervy Cruz tow GenSan past Quezon for win no. 10


General Santos heated up in the fourth quarter and went on to defeat Quezon, 89-71, on Friday in the OKBet-MPBL (Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League) Fifth Season at the Baliwag Star Arena in Bulacan.

The Warriors kept pace with the Nueva Ecija Rice Vanguards, who overcame a slow start to dominate the Negros Muscovados, 94-72, in the opening game.

Leading 65-61, GenSan unleashed a 4-minute, 23-second blitz against Quezon, scoring 20 points, including 10 by Mark Cruz and 5 by Jervy Cruz, while the Huskers managed only four points. This secured GenSan’s 10th win against four losses in the single round-robin elimination phase of the 29-team tournament.

Enzo Joson added a triple, and John Wilson made a layup during that crucial surge that pushed the Huskers down to 10-5.

Wilson finished with 23 points, 4 steals, 3 rebounds, and 3 assists for Coach Rich Alvarez’s team, which also received 20 points and 8 rebounds from Jervy Cruz, 19 points, 5 assists, and 4 rebounds from Mark Cruz, and 11 points, 7 assists, and 3 rebounds from Nico Elorde.

Quezon, missing the injured Will Gozum, Jeric Teng, and Prince Rivero, received 15 points and 5 rebounds from Raffy Verano, and 12 points and 4 assists from Alvin Abundo.

After falling behind 2-22 against Negros, Nueva Ecija steadily fought back, seized control in the third quarter with a 71-63 lead, and never looked back en route to a 14-1 record. They trail behind Pampanga, which boasts a perfect 14-0 slate.

Demonstrating their depth and strength, Coach Jerson Cabiltes fielded 14 of his 15 players, with new acquisition Sherwin Concepcion leading the way with 14 points, 7 rebounds, and 3 assists. Stephen Siruma contributed 11 points, while Jonathan Uyloan, Michael Mabulac, and recruit Orin Catacutan each chipped in 9 points.

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Kemark Carino, the towering presence, made his mark with 8 points, including a triple, and 4 rebounds in a 12-minute appearance. Negros fell to 5-11, with Jun Manzo and Bernie Bregondo as their top scorers with 19 and 14 points, respectively.

Muntinlupa capitalized on a lackluster Bulacan team, winning 78-61 to complete a day of one-sided matchups.

Led by veteran Val Acuna, the Muntinlupa Cagers held the lead throughout and built a lead of up to 21 points, 27-6, improving their record to 9-6. Acuna scored 15 points, including three triples, as Muntinlupa handed Bulacan their sixth consecutive defeat, leaving them with a 6-10 record.

On Saturday, the MPBL will visit the Bataan People’s Center in Balanga for a triple bill featuring Bicol against Iloilo at 4 p.m., Zamboanga against Rizal at 6 p.m., and Imus against Bataan at 8 p.m.

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