Bacoor and Batangas scored trouble-free wins to keep their lofty spots in the OKBet-Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League Fifth Season at the Bacoor Strike Gym in Cavite.
Banking on their solid lineup, the Bacoor Strikers blasted the Bicol Volcanoes, 113-75, in the nightcap to match the Batangas City Embassy Chill’s 105-74 smashing of Bacolod City of Smiles in the opener.
Both the Strikers and the Athletics raised their records to 17-4 and shared the lead in the South division of the 29-team tournament staging its round-robin elimination phase.
Cheered on by another big crowd, the Strikers put the game in the bag in the fourth quarter, 87-43, before easing off a bit in burying the Volcanoes to a league-worst 1-21 card.
Bacoor Coach Alex Angeles took the chance to juggle his 15 players, all of whom scored after being given over 11 minutes of exposure each.
Homegrown Rocky Acidre and James Kwekuteye fired 14 points each for the Strikers, who also drew 12 points from Salvador Galit and 11 each from Alwyn Alday and Jhan McHale Nermal.
The hapless Volcanoes got 24 points and 10 rebounds from Alfren Gayosa and 20 points from Redel Fabro.
Batangas Coach Cholo Villanueva employed the same ploy, but two of the 14 players fielded were unable to deliver in the game that saw the Athletics build a 100-66 spread.
Juneric Baloria fired 20 points for Batangas, which also drew 17 points from MJ Dela Virgen, 13 from Jeckster Apinan, 12 from Rhaffy Octobre, 11 from Levi Hernandez and 10 from JohnRey Villanueva.
Bacolod, which tumbled to 9-13, got 15 points from Chris Menguez, 14 from Dom Matillano and 10 from Andretti Stevens.
Sarangani subdued Valenzuela, 107-98, and revved up its playoff drive with a 9-13 slate.
Alex Desoyo and Jeff Comia powered the Marlins with 18 and 17 points, respectively. They were supported by JC Escalambre with 15 points, Reggz Gabat with 13 and JP Cauilan with 11.