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Tiebreaker Times


MPBL: Levi Hernandez, Cedrick Ablaza lift Batangas to South Finals

Batangas relied on the clutch hits of Levi Hernandez and Cedric Ablaza, as well as a defensive stop by Vincent Importante, to defeat GenSan, 66-62, on Tuesday and secure the South Division title in the MPBL (Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League) Fifth Season at the Batangas City Coliseum.

Hernandez’s three-pointer put the Batangas City Embassy Chill Athletics ahead, 64-58, cushioning the impact of back-to-back baskets by Larry Rodriguez and Enzo Joson.

Ablaza then made two free throws with 5.1 seconds left to secure the Athletics’ 2-1 victory over the Warriors in their semifinal series.

Hernandez, who scored in double digits for the third consecutive game, finished with 14 points and eight rebounds, earning him the best player honors and advancing Batangas, the 2018 Anta Rajah Cup champion, to the division finals.

Ablaza supported Hernandez with 13 points, four rebounds, and four assists, and John Ambulodto added 12 points and seven rebounds.

GenSan received 15 points from Michole Sorela, whose three-point attempt in the final moments was blocked by Importante.

Mark Cruz was the only other Warrior in double figures with 12 points, as John Wilson went scoreless.

The Athletics and the Bacoor Strikers will begin their best-of-three division finals on Monday at the Strike Gymnasium in Bacoor City.

The North Division finals opener between San Juan and Pampanga will take place at 7 p.m. on Saturday at the Bren Z. Guiao Convention Center in San Fernando, Pampanga.

MPBL Founder and CEO Manny Pacquiao watched the series decider with his wife, Jinkee.

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