Batangas and Imus trounced also-ran opponents to rev up their drive toward better placings in the coming playoffs of the OKBet-Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League Fifth Season Monday at the Paco Arena in Manila.
The Batangas City Embassy Chill overpowered Laguna Krah Asia, 97-62, to tighten its hold of the second spot in the South division, while the Imus SV Squad routed the Oriental Mindoro Disiplinados, 96-74, in the round-robin elimination phase of the 29-team, two-division tournament.
The Athletics raised their record to 21-5, increasing their distance from the GenSan Warriors (20-6) and moving closer toward pacesetter Bacoor City Strikers (22-4).
John Ambulodto and Darwin Lunor contributed double-doubles for the Athletics, who never stopped pounding till the final buzzer.
Ambulodto posted 17 points and 13 rebounds, while Lunor tallied 17 points and 10 rebounds as the Athletics battered the Heroes off the boards, 70-38. Jaycee John Asuncion added 12 points and seven rebounds for Batangas.
Laguna (3-23) got 18 points and seven rebounds from Jerome Garcia, 12 points and four rebounds from Paolo Pontejos, and 10 points, seven rebounds and four assists from Jason Celis.
Not to be outdone, Imus also pounded Mindoro off the boards, 47-31, en route to a 14-12 card that secured the seventh spot headed to the South playoffs.
Homegrown Junjie Hallare led Imus with 20 points plus six rebounds, Megan Galang with 16 points, Nino Cañaleta with 15 and Joseph Peñaredondo with 10.
Mindoro skidded to 4-22 despite the near triple-double effort of Paolo Hubalde with 20 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists and the 15-point output of homegrown Rodel Vaygan.