Photo from MPBL


Reyes, Arana lead way as Nueva Ecija eliminates Quezon City

by Niel Victor Masoy, January 15, 2020 9:15pm

Ex-pro Jai Reyes and Justin Arana led the way to power Nueva Ecija to a 92-74 win over Quezon City on Wednesday in the Chooks-to-Go Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League Lakan Cup at the Bataan’s People Center.

With the victory, the already eliminated Rice Vanguards improved to an 8-17 win-loss card - 12th in the North Division team standings - all the while sending the Capitals to elimination with a 10-17 slate, good for the 11th spot in the North.

Reyes flirted with a triple-double, putting up 12 points, eight assists, and seven rebounds with two steals to boot. 

Justin Arana asserted his might down low as he pumped in a double-double of 19 markers and 11 boards on top of three dimes. 

Maclean Sabelina added 13 points and eight rebounds, while JP Sarao chipped in 12 points, five caroms, and two blocks in the win.

“Yung tinuro lang samin nung coach namin na kasi… yung versus Pampanga, parang kaniya kaniya kami. Ngayon, sabi ni coach need niya ng team work talaga kaya nagpasahan kami,” said Nueva Ecija center Arana post-game.

The Rice Vanguards overwhelmed the Capitals with an 18-5 opening salvo capped by Reyes’ back-to-back baskets - a triple and a jumper, setting up their domination in the game.

Riding on such a wave of momentum, Nueva Ecija went on to lead by 25 points, 50-25 at the half. 

Quezon City threatened to pull of a come-from-behind win, closing in at 11 points, 59-70, following a Mark Olayon split from the line at the 8:28 mark of the final canto.

Nueva Ecija, however, drew key baskets from Sabelina, Reyes, Arana, Marlon Monte, Tonino Gonzaga, and James Martinez to restore order.

Martinez’s three-point bomb with 1:49 remaining expanded the Rice Vanguards’ advantage to 20 points, 88-68 - a lead that was more than enough for Nueva Ecija to get the triumph. 

Olayon carried the fight for the Capitals, amassing a double-double of 20 points, 10 rebounds, five assists, and two steals. 

Mon Mabayo backstopped him with 23 points, nine boards, and three blocks as Joco Tayongtong produced 13 markers, four rebounds, three assists, and three steals.


The scores:

Nueva Ecija 92 – Arana 19, Sabellina 13, J. Reyes 12, Martinez 9, Gonzaga 8, Monte 5, Celada 3, G. Reyes 3, Gotam 2, Tadeo 2, De Leon 0.

Quezon City 74 – Mabayo 23, Olayon 20, Tayongtong 13, Castro 8, Medina 6, Derige 2, Gaydon 2, Santiago 0, Olea 0, Sison 0, Atabay 0, Barua 0.

Quarters: 23-12, 50-25, 69-53, 92-74.

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