PAMPANGA-Pradera Theme Park’s depth proved to be too much for Cagayan de Oro, racking up an 88-78 win to take a share of the lead in the 2023 Manila Bankers Life-Pilipinas Super League 18-Under Battle of the Champions on Tuesday at Bren Z. Guiao Convention Center in San Fernando.
With the triumph, the Delta will head to their clash against NCR Leg champion Farm Fresh-Letran holding a 13-game winning streak stemming from their sweep of the Luzon Leg and their 104-65 over Sherilin Unisol City of Naga on opening day.
The highly-anticipated clash which will have the first finals ticket at stake in this tournament co-presented by SCD and Dumper party-list and supported by J Project Clothings, MDC, Bluesky Advertising, NET 25, Wcube Solutions Inc., Hotel SOGO, and Converge will take place on Wednesday evening.
Elijah Yusi of National University Nazareth School led the way for Pampanga-Pradera with 25 points built on five treys.
Veejay Pre of Far Eastern University-Diliman provided the support with 19 points and 10 rebounds while Rhyle Melencio of De La Salle University added 12 points and seven rebounds.
The Higalas, who fell to 0-2, was paced by Rex Alcover (20 points) and Sean Magadan (18 points).
Meanwhile, Sherilin-Unisol notched its first win after an 82-74 escape of Max Ballers-Davao.
Five players scored in double-digits for the Naga-based club, who only fielded eight players for the game.
Peter Peteros scored 18 points while Emmanuel Catalan got 14.
Jerome Aboitiz and Mark Solonia chipped in 13 markers apiece with the latter also grabbing 12 rebounds while Allen Roy Gako added 11 points.
The efforts of Marc Burgos (19 points, 12 rebounds) and Dam De Guzman (17 points, 9 rebounds) were not enough to avert disaster for Max Ballers, who fell to 1-2 to drop to a tie with Sherilin-Unisol.