Batangas-Tanduay zeroes in on inaugural MPBL crown
BATANGAS CITY—A Batangas City-Tanduay team that doesn’t seem to run out of heroes found another one on Saturday night.
With big man Jhaymo Eguilos seizing the moment this time, the Athletics turned back the Muntinlupa Cagers-Angelis Resort, 78-74, anew to close in on the 2018 MPBL Anta-Rajah Cup at a jam-packed Batangas City Coliseum here.
The former Far Eastern U stalwart hit 7-of-8 shots on his way to a game high 16 points as the Athletics showcased their depth and firepower before surviving another late onslaught by the Cagers for a 2-0 lead in their best-of-five title series.
Just like in the series opener when the Athletics survived, 70-64, the Cagers nearly erased a double digit lead in the last three minutes as Allan Mangahas caught fire late in the game.
But Eguilos hit a jumper over Chito Jaime while Game 1 hero Tey Teodoro added foul shots to seal the victory.
Batangas can wrap up the crown and the P1 million prize with another victory on Tuesday in Game 3 at Muntinlupa Sports Center, but coach Mac Tan said the series is far from over.
“These are two good teams battling it out and it’s a matter of who wants it more,” said Tan. “But we can’t just count out Muntinlupa even with a 2-0 lead. They are very strong at home.”
The Athletics once again got contributions from almost their entire squad with Val Acuña, Teodoro, Bong Quinto and Mon Rogado pitching in nine points each. The playmaking of Lester Alvarez and Mark Olayon also gave Muntinlupa problems as the Athletics led by as many as 18 in the third period, 58-40.
BATANGAS 78—Eguilos 16, Acuna 9, Teodoro 9, Quinto 9, Rogado 9, Olayon 7, Varilla 6, Grimaldo 4, Santos 4, Alvarez 3, Villamor 2.
MUNTINLUPA 74—Jaime 18, Mangahas 15, Moralde 15, Llagas 9, Buenaflor 6, Ylagan 5, Reverente 4, Apreku 2, Vergara 0, Salaveria 0, Stevens 0.
Quarters: 13-14, 38-24, 60-46, 78-74
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