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MPBL: Jolo Mendoza powers Rizal’s rout of Kyt Jimenez’s Sarangani to open QF


Batangas Embassy Chill subdued Bacoor, 69-55, while Rizal Xentro Mall routed Sarangani OKBet, 73-45, on Friday in the quarterfinal round of the OKbet-MPBL (Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League) 4th Season Presented by Xtreme at the Batangas City Coliseum.

Already ahead by 10 points, the Athletics sealed the outcome of the highly physical encounter with an eight-point cluster, 67-49, with only 51.9 seconds to go.

The Golden Coolers, on the other hand, held the Sarangani Marlins to three points in the second quarter and led by as many as 33 points, 71-38, en route to the playoffs’ biggest surprise thus far.

Batangas, the MPBL’s inaugural champion in the 2018 Anta Rajah Cup, and the much-improved Rizal will cut short their respective best-of-three series if they repeat over their rivals on October 28 at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig.

Juneric Baloria presided over Batangas’ offense with 19 points and seven rebounds, followed by Jeckster Apinan with 11 points, seven rebounds, and four steals, and Rudy Lingganay with 10 points, six rebounds, and five assists.

MPBL All-Star Cedric Ablaza also did his part for Batangas Coach Cholo Villanueva with a game-high 15 rebounds, plus five points, three assists, and three steals.

Bacoor got 11 points from Mark Pangilinan and nine each from RJ Ramirez and Mark Montuano, who snared 12 rebounds.

Unlike the intense Batangas-Bacoor clash, the Rizal-Sarangani collision turned out to be a one-sided affair with the Golden Coolers pulling away, 37-19, at halftime.

Sharp on offense and tough on defense, the Golden Coolers pounded the Marlins, who misfired from afar the whole night, making only 1-of-30 triple tries as snipers Kyt Jimenez failed to convert on eight and seven attempts, respectively.

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Jolo Mendoza led Rizal with 17 points, nine rebounds, and three assists, followed by Keanu Caballero with 11 points, five assists, and four rebounds; and Alvin Capobres with 10 points plus six rebounds.

Gang rebounding enabled the Golden Coolers to rule the boards, 66-38, which they converted to more points in the paint, 34-22.

With Jimenez held to three points and Sanga just two, Jonjon Gabriel’s 11 points top the charts for Sarangani.

The MPBL goes to the Bren Guiao Convention Center in San Fernando, Pampanga on Saturday with the Nueva Ecija Rice Vanguards and the Pampanga Giant Lanterns seeking semifinal seats.

Nueva Ecija is favored to repeat over Marikina in the 5:30 p.m. opener and so is Pampanga against Bataan in the 9 p.m. tussle.

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