Muntinlupa advances to MPBL Finals
Muntinlupa-Angelis Resort got an unlikely lift from seldom used forward Dhon Reverente as it turned back Paranaque-Gamboa Coffee, 81-70, Tuesday night to forge a title showdown with Batangas City-Tanduay in the MPBL Anta Rajah Cup at Muntinlupa Sports Complex.
With Muntinlupa’s season on the line, Reverente came off the bench to collect 12 points and 12 rebounds as the Cagers fought back from a 14-point deficit in the second quarter to prevail in the do-or-die clash.
Ex-pro Chito Jaime scored 22 points, while former Mapua Cardinal Allan Mangahas added 18 that went with six rebounds and five assists for the Cagers, who travel to Batangas City on Thursday to face the top-seeded Athletics in Game 1 of the best-of-five championship series.
“I’m just happy all our hard work paid off,” said Muntinlupa coach Aldrin Morante. “We really had to dig deep in this series and I’m glad my players delivered.”
It was an impressive turnaround for the Cagers after they lost Game 1, 84-59, before taking the next two games and the last finals berth.
Batangas will still host Game 2, before the series goes to Muntinlupa for Game 3 and, if necessary, Game 4.
League founder and Sen. Manny Pacquiao has dangled a P1 million prize for the champion team with the losing finalist getting P500,000.
Meanwhile, Makati became the latest city to join the MPBL in its expansion in the next conference, following the entry of San Juan, Pasig, Laguna, Manila and Rizal.
MPBL commissioner Kenneth Duremdes said the league is now up to 16 teams with more clubs from Visayas and Mindanao joining the tournament. The next MPBL conference is tentatively set June 12.
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