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Shining Lanterns make MPBL semis

Pampanga weathered Bataan’s final assault to book a 66-62 victory and barge into the semifinals of the OKBet-Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League 4th Season yesterday at the Bren Guiao Convention Center in San Fernando, Pampanga.

Dominick Vera canned his two free throws in the final 1.5 seconds to seal the victory for the Giant Lanterns, who wrapped up their best-of-three division quarterfinal series, 2-1.

Pampanga moved ahead, 64-56, but Bataan refused to give up as Arvie Bringas drilled a corner three-pointer while Kristoffer Torrado and Ric Gallardo chipped in to cut the lead to two, 64-62, with only 14.8 seconds left.

Unlike Game 2 when the Giant Lanterns crumbled to pressure to yield an 83-85 decision, they stood their ground this time to clinch the victory and book a semifinal showdown against Nueva Ecija starting Monday at the Nueva Ecija Coliseum in Palayan City.

Archie Concepcion and Christopher Lagrama fired 13 points each while Vera and Earnest Reyes chipped in 10 points apiece for Pampanga, who survived the rally of Bataan from 14 points down in the first half.

James Casto fired 14 points while Torrado had 10 for Bataan.

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