Marikina stunned Bacolod, 79-67, in the OKBet-MPBL (Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League) Fifth Season at the Batangas City Coliseum on Tuesday, with little-known Felipe Chavez leading the Shoemasters to victory.
Despite trailing veteran-laden Bacolod up to the third quarter, 51-55, Marikina coach Elvis Tolentino put his trust in Chavez to preside over their offense. And the prized find from Teresa, Rizal did not disappoint.
Chavez outscored the entire Bacolod squad, 16-12, in that span, leading the Shoemasters to their first victory of the long season, which lasts until December.
Chavez finished with a statistical line of 17 points, seven assists, six rebounds, two blocks, and a steal in a 23-minute, 30-second stint.
Homegrown players Jason Opiso and Deo Timajo contributed 15 and 13 points, respectively.
Marikina’s debutant, Joe Gomez de Liano, finished with three points and five rebounds.
The City of Smilers got 15 points from Cantimbuhan and 12 points from Domark Matillano.
In the nightcap, Batangas City Embassy Chill routed Pasay, 69-54, to join the leaders’ circle of the 29-team league. Meanwhile, first game-winner Zamboanga Family’s Brand Sardines defeated Valenzuela XUR Homes Realty Inc. earlier in the day, 98-54,
Batangas was eager to make up for a disappointing stint in last month’s MPBL Preseason Invitationals. It buried the Voyagers deep, 60-40, before cruising to victory.
Juneric Baloria led Batangas’ balanced attack with 11 points, followed by Rhaffy Octobre and MJ Dela Virgen with 10 each.
For Zamboanga, Jaycee Marcelino flashed the form that made him last year’s MPBL MVP. He fired 22 points, issued six assists, made four steals, and grabbed four rebounds in just 19 minutes and 40 seconds of play to earn best player honors.
The 5-foot-9 high-flyer got ample support from Judel Fuentes with 16 points, four rebounds, four assists, and two steals; and Cyrus Tabi with 10 points, highlighted by two triples, and four rebounds.
Michael Angelo Macion, a 6-foot-4 prized find from the University of Visayas, was the lone bright spot for Valenzuela. The team only connected on 20 of 71 field goal attempts, with 17 points, 12 rebounds, and two assists.
After a break on Wednesday, the MPBL goes to the Muntinlupa Sports Complex on Thursday for another triple-bill. Matches are Bacoor against Manila at 4:00 PM, Negros against Mindoro at 6:00 PM, and Paranaque against Muntinlupa at 8:00 PM.