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Makati holds off Iloilo for fifth straight win

by Niel Victor Masoy, October 24, 2019 9:21pm

The Makati Super Crunch showed poise in crunch time to hold off the Iloilo United Royals and notch their fifth straight win on Thursday in the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League (MPBL) Lakan Cup at the Marikina Sports Center.

Ex-pro Junric Baloria put up 15 points and eight rebounds to lead the charge for Makati which improved to a 15-3 win-loss card - sharing a tie with the Manila Stars for the second spot in the North Division team standings.

Jeckster Apinan - also a former Philippine Basketball Association player - backstopped Baloria with nine points, 13 boards, and two steals, while Cedrick Ablaza chipped in 12 markers and three caroms in the win.

The Super Crunch was in control for the most part, but the Royals never let the latter to pull away. Instead, Iloilo posted a huge challenge on Makati and got within a point, 65-64, following a Rey Publico inside incursion with 5:16 left in regulation.

Makati, though, came to its senses and unleashed a 12-3 run capped by a Baloria split from the line to grab a 10-point, 77-67 advantage at the 1:03 mark of the fourth quarter.

That rally and the time remaining proved to be more than enough for the Super Crunch to keep the Royals at bay and get the victory.

Publico paced Iloilo with 15 points and five rebounds as Don Gumaro provided support of 15 markers and three caroms.

John Mahari-Ng and ex-pro Al Francis Tamsi chipped in seven points apiece for the Royals, who suffered their second straight defeat.

Iloilo fell to a 9-8 slate which is good for the seventh spot in the South Division team standings.

Meanwhile, the Pampanga Giant Lanterns beat the Caloocan Supremos in the first game of the league’s gameday triple-header.

Ex-pro Michael Uico led Pampanga with 12 points, nine rebounds, and two assists as the Giant Lanterns notched their second straight win.

Pampanga improved to a 12-7 win-loss slate and shared a tie with the Pasay Voyagers at the fourth spot in the Northern Division standings.

On the other hand, Damian Lasco paced the Supremos with 19 points and seven caroms.

Caloocan dropped to an 11-9 record and slid to the seventh spot in the North Division standings.

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