Risers, Valientes sustain MPBL climb

Risers, Valientes sustain MPBL climb

MANILA, Philippines – The Bataan Risers and Zamboanga Valientes continued their climb against skidding opponents in the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League Datu Cup Wednesday night.

Pounding the boards with impunity, the Risers trounced the Quezon City Capitals, 101-68, while the Valientes, starring the hot-shooting Reed Juntilla, subdued the Navotas Clutch, 89-78, at the Blue Eagle Gym in Katipunan, Quezon City.

With J-Jay Alejandro grabbing 12 rebounds on top of 10 points, the Risers posted a big 63-41 edge off the boards, which they exploited to overwhelm the Capitals and stretch their win run to five after dropping their opening game in the regional league.

As the Capitals virtually yielded after the third quarter, 74-54, Risers Coach Jojo Lastimosa had the luxury of shuffling 15 players, only two of whom failed to score.

Veteran Gary David spearheaded the Risers with 21 points followed by 6-foot-6 center Jeepy Faundo with 12 and J-Jay Alejandro and Vince Tolentino with 10 each.

The Risers also showed more cohesion with 32 assists, seven by Pamboy Raymundo, against only 17 by the Capitals, who absorbed their third straight defeat and dropped to 1-4.

Riding the double-double effort of Juntilla, the Valientes pulled away from the Clutch ending the third quarter then coasted to their third straight victory that lifted their record to 4-2.

Flashing his old fiery form, the 34-year-old Juntilla slashed and gunned his way to game-highs 29 points and 11 rebounds.

After a promising 2-0 start in the North division, the Clutch have been derailed by three straight losses.

With the 6-foot-2 Juntilla and Jonathan Parreno at the helm, the Valientes of Coach Ednic Morones led by as many as 20 points (78-58) early in the fourth quarter and were never in danger against the Clutch.

The Valientes, owned by Yacob Ati and supported by Family’s Brand Sardines, also got 12 points from Noy Javier and 10 from Leo Avenido, another former pro.

Finding his range, Juntilla made 10 of 14 field goal attempts and three of four triple tries to complement the four of eight triple conversions by Parreno.

Their deft touch gave the Valientes a high 48 percent accuracy (11 of 23) from rainbow territory, far better than the Clutch’s 32 percent shooting (8 of 25).

The Valientes also flaunted their sleek running game, scoring 16 on fast breaks while blanking the Clutch.

The Richie Ticzon-mentored Clutch got 15 points from James Porter and 10 each from Gino Jumao-as and Donald Gumaru.

Meanwhile, the Makati Skyscrapers have released Philip Pamaniogan, their leading scorer, to the NLEX Road Warriors in the PBA.