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Batangas, Bacolod, Rizal rip MPBL foes

Mark Justine Dela Virgen steals the spotlight for Batangas.

Batangas cruised past Oriental Mindoro while Bacolod and Rizal foiled their respective rivals in the OKBet-Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League Fifth Season on Wednesday at the Ynares Center in Antipolo City.

Showing depth and power, the Batangas City Embassy Chill Athletics dumped the Oriental Mindoro Disiplinados, 98-70, to raise their record
to 15-4 in the round-robin elimination phase of the 29-team tournament.

The Bacolod Maskaras wasted a 20-point spread but held on to a 95-91 victory over the Sarangani Marlins in the second game, followed by the Rizal XentroMall Golden Coolers’ 78-69 conquest of the Negros Muscovados.

Firmly in control, the Athletics deployed the full complement of their 15-player roster, all of whom contributed two points or more.

Mark Justine dela Virgen scored 14 while CJ Isit and Jeckster Apinan added nine markers each for the Athletics, who dominated the boards, 50-35, en route to 44 points inside the paint.

Mindoro dropped to 3-17 despite the 21-point, nine-assist, six-rebound, three-steal effort of Agem Miranda.

Bacolod pulled away, 76-56, at the start of the fourth quarter, but dropped its guard and allowed Sarangani to knot the count at 88 following back-to-back triples by Jeff Comia and John Paul Cauilan.

Fortunately for Bacolod, Domark Matillano drove through and Valandre Chauca drilled in a triple with 11 seconds left to lift the Maskaras to an 8-12 slate, the same as the Marlins.

Chauca ended up with 19 points, three rebounds and three assists, followed by John Cantimbuhan and Christopher Menguez with 12 points each, and Mark Sarangay with 10 points plus 12 rebounds.

Troy Mallillin powered Rizal to a 9-12 card with 14 points, including the game’s last four, seven rebounds and six assists, and was supported by Jeric James Pido with 12 points, and Alvin John Capobres, who was unable to finish the game due to a leg injury, with 11 points.

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