Batangas repeats over Muntinlupa in MPBL
GENERAL SANTOS CITY – The Batangas City Athletics are ready to contend once again.
Sustaining their climb from a deep pit, the Athletics asserted their mastery over the Muntinlupa Cagers, 82-71, Thursday night in the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League Datu Cup at Lagao Gymnasium here.
It was the second straight win and their fourth in five games for the Athletics, the MPBL Rajah Cup champions, who improved to an even 6-6 slate.
The Cagers suffered their second straight defeat under coach Aldin Ayo and skidded to 8-2, holding on to the top spot in the South division, where they are bracketed with their Rajah Cup championship tormentors.
“It’s a good win for us, “said Athletics coach Mac Tan, noting that he will be missing his team’s next two games to accompany team owner Bong Tan in a trip to the United States.
Tan acknowledged the impact of new acquisition Jeff Viernes, who played a vital role in the Athletics’ back-to-back victories over Mandaluyong El Tigre and the Cagers.
Viernes tallied 10 points, four rebounds and five assists as Dennice Villamor and Moncrief Rogado took over the scoring chores in the second half.
The 6-foot-4 Villamor fired 15 points, including six straight in the homestretch, while Rogado added 14 for the Tanduay-backed Athletics, who made 10 of 11 free throws awarded them.
Former pro Chito Jayme tallied 20 points, his 10th consecutive twin digits output, and eight rebounds for the Cagers, but chief gunner Allan Mangahas was held to 10 points.
In the nightcap, the General Santos Warriors survived the Laguna Krah Heroes ‘final assault to prevail, 69-66, and stay perfect at home. They bested the visiting Pampanga Lanterns, 72-64, on September 1.
The Warriors started hot, 15-2, in the first quarter, sustained the fire up to the third quarter, 54-32, but had to repulse the Heroes in the last minute to improve to 5-6.
John Orbeta notched 18 points and 14 rebounds for his first double-double in the league, while Delmar Mahaling contributed 14 points, including four in the last minute, before fouling out with 33 seconds left and the Warriors ahead, 68-66.
The Heroes dropped to 6-6 despite the game-high 22 points, all in the second half, of former pro Denok Miranda.