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MPBL: Raffy Verano takes charge as Quezon weathers Makati for 10th win


Quezon Province withstood Makati’s final assaults and prevailed, 80-72, on Saturday in the OKBet-MPBL (Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League) at the Quezon Convention Center in Lucena City.

Starting strong behind their outside shooting, the Huskers surged to a 37-20 lead before halftime, only to be relentlessly pursued by the OKBet Kings, who threatened thrice in the fourth quarter.

The last threat came at 72-75 following a 5-point cluster by Emman Calo with 39 seconds to go.

However, the Huskers countered with a closing 5-point surge to secure their 10th win against four losses in the single round-robin elimination phase of the 29-team tournament.

Raffy Verano once again shone for Quezon with 16 points, 8 of which were scored in the last quarter, and 10 rebounds.

The 6-foot-3 former Ateneo Blue Eagle received support from Alfrancis Tamsi with 13 points, including 3 triples, as well as homegrown talent Topeng Lagrama with 9 points, all from beyond the arc, and Mon Abundo with 8 points, four of which were scored in the last 49 seconds.

The Huskers also made 2 triples each from Verano and Robin Rono, resulting in a total of 13 successful attempts out of 29. Makati, which slipped to 9-5, received 16 points and 10 rebounds from Rob Celiz, 11 points and 12 rebounds from Billy Robles, and 11 points, 5 rebounds, and 2 steals from Calo.

In earlier games, Bacolod City of Smiles narrowly defeated Bulacan, 85-84, thanks to a last-minute shot by John Cantimbuhan. Muntinlupa also emerged victorious with a 77-71 win against Negros.

Powered by Val Chauca’s 22 points, 5 assists, and 3 rebounds, Bacolod climbed to 6-9, the same record as Bulacan, which received 19 points, 8 rebounds, and 6 assists from Buenaventura Raflores. Chauca, a Fil-Peruvian guard from the California Golden Bears, received support from Regie Boy Basibas with 13 points and 8 rebounds, as well as Mark Sarangay with 11 points and 5 rebounds.

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Muntinlupa improved to 8-6 with the contributions of John Delos Santos, who recorded 12 points, 11 rebounds, 5 assists, and 4 steals, JP Sarao with 12 points and 7 rebounds, John Amores with 12 points and 5 rebounds, and John Abis with 11 points, 5 assists, and 4 rebounds. Negros, despite Jason Melano’s 29-point, 11-rebound effort, and Nemesis Dela Cruz’s 19-point, 7-rebound contribution, dropped to 5-10.

The MPBL will return to the Batangas City Coliseum on Monday with a triple bill featuring Iloilo against GenSan at 4 p.m., Bataan against Zamboanga at 6 p.m., and Nueva Ecija against Batangas at 8 p.m.

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