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Robbie Manalang sizzles once again as Pasig edges out Rizal

by Eugene Flores, July 23, 2019 12:03am

The Pasig City Sta. Lucia Realtors edged out the Rizal Golden Coolers Xentro Mall, 78-72, in the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League (MPBL) Lakan Cup inside the loud and filled Pasig Sports Complex on Monday.

The home team managed to take the win in front of their supportive crowd with defensive stops in the crucial moments and behind Robbie Manalang's another impressive performance with 18 points and two assists in a six-of-11 shooting performance from downtown.

Argel Mendoza had 13 points, five rebounds and six assists while home grown hero Richard Velchez played with great tenacity and added 11 markers and nine boards.

For Rizal, two players displayed a double-double performance with Buenaventura Raflores scoring 18 points and 11 boards but went scoreless in the payoff period, and Mark Benitez with 13 points and 10 rebounds.

The game was tied at 19 before Rizal capitalized on a 6-2 run on a JayVee Vidal jumper to end the first quarter, 25-21.

Second quarter was a continuation of the back-and-forth action between the two squads but a Nick Velasco's technical foul on a shot attempt caught most of the attention.

That sequence however benefited the Pasig squad as they took a three-point lead at the half, 44-41, with Robbie Manalang and Argel Mendoza scoring nine points apiece.

Tight game as it was from the start, Raflores scored five-straight points for Rizal to give the driver seat back to their side, 56-51, before Manalang's triple sparked the momentum to shift back at Pasig's way as they took a 65-62 advantage going to the final frame.

The game was still close but Pasig, who shot better from the three-point area, created enough separation on a Manalang's bail out three-pointer at the 6:11 mark, 73-65.

Benitez and Vidal tried to save the skidding Rizal but Jeric Serrano hit one of his two free throws with 21 seconds left, making it a two-possession ball game, 76-72. Vidal came up empty on a drive attempt forcing them another foul which Josan Nimes calmy sunk the two charities to make it, 78-72.

Three-point percentage was the difference maker for both squad as Pasig shot at 35 percent compared to only 18 percent for Rizal.

The win brought Pasig to a 3-2 win-loss card while Rizal suffered their fourth loss in only one win.

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