Crusaders stun Knights in MPBL
MANILA, Philippines – The Rizal Crusaders caught the San Juan Knights’ off-form Tuesday night and posted an 85-77 shocker in the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League Datu Cup at Henry Noble Gymnasium-Trinity University Asia in Quezon City
Hampered by awful shooting from the field and free throw line, the Knights trailed by as many as 13 points twice, the last at 68-71, and were unable to catch up with the Crusaders, who won only for the fourth time in 11 games.
Though smaller, the Xentro Mall-backed Crusaders also ruled the boards, 54-39, to pull down the Knights to 8-2.
Paul Santiago, a 5-foot-11 guard, grabbed 11 rebounds while Marco Balagtas, a 6-foot-2 forward, snared nine to go with 16 points for the Crusaders of coach Braulio LIm.
“Malaking bagay ito, “said Lim. Simula ngayon rerespetuhin na kami ng ibang teams. Hindi kami pumunta rito para mag-survive lang, kung hindi para manalo.
The Knights drew 21 points from John Wilson and 20 from Ryan Ayonayon, but were hampered by their 20-of-39 clip from the charity stripe, 24 of 53 tries from the perimeter, and 3 of 19 attempts from rainbow territory.
Already missing the services of veteran Mac Cardona and starter CJ Isit, the Knights were further hobbled by the inability of their bench to deliver, settling for 18 points that were obscured by the 51 points of the Crusaders’ bench.
The Bulacan Kuyas avoided the fate of the Knights with a 61-55 conquest of the Quezon City Capitals in the nightcap.
With burly JR Taganas snaring 21 rebounds, the Kuyas dominated the boards, 63-38, which they exploited to climb to 8-3.
Only 6-foot-3 but immovable inside the paint, Taganas became the first MPBL player to snare back-to-back 20 plus rebounds, having collared a league-record 26 rebounds against the Imus Bandera on September 27.
The Capitals, who set a league-record in futility, 0 of 19 triple attempts, dropped to 2-6 despite the 12-point outputs of Jay Collado, Hesed Gabo and Andrew Estrella.
Jovit Dela Cruz scored 12 points and Stephen Siruma added 10 for the Kuyas, backed by Mighty Sports of Ceasar Wongchuking, who only canned 1 of 22 triple attempts.