Nueva Ecija stayed in the playoff hunt after downing Parañaque-Yabo Sports, 85-81, Wednesday in the 2019-20 Chooks-to-Go MPBL Lakan Season at the Olivarez College Gym in Parañaque City.
Leading by just mere two points, 79-77 in the fourth quarter, Rice Vanguards’ Tonino Gonzaga buried a triple from the left corner. James Martinez followed it up with a floater to put his squad ahead, 84-77, with 55 seconds left.
“The big shots of James and Tonino were huge for us, our new addition. Justin Arana really helped us inside the paint dahil foul trouble lahat ng big men namin,” said Nueva Ecija coach Charles Tiu.
Gonzaga led the Rice Vanguards with 21 points, six boards, three assists, and a steal. Meanwhile, James Martinez uncorked 11 markers on three conversions from behind the arc.
With the victory, the Rice Vanguards improved to 6-16, good for the 13th spot in the North division.
Jemal Viscarra topped Parañaque with 19 points, 12 rebounds, six assists against five turnovers. James Abugan chipped in 18 markers. Meanwhile, the trio of Rommel Mangalino, Keith Pido and Jayboy Solis combined for 34.
The Patriots dropped their third-straight game, falling to 8-16 for the 12th spot in the North.
NUEVA ECIJA 85 – Gonzaga 21, Martinez 11, Monte 8, Arana 8, Sabelinna 7, De Leon 6, Sarao 6, Aquino 6, Dela Cruz 5, Reyes 4, Garcia 2, Reyes 1, Celada 0.
PARAÑAQUE-YABO SPORTS 81 – Viscarra 19, Abugan 18, Mangalino 13, Pido 11, Solis 10, Saguiguit 4, Rabe 3, Sunga 2, Antonares 1, Menguez 0, Begaso 0, Banzali 0.
Quarterscores: 30-32, 50-48, 65-66, 85-81.
Story by Justin Valencua
Photo by Angela Davocol