Home fans spur Bataan to first win
BALANGA CITY, Bataan— Feeding off the energy of a boisterous home crowd, Bataan used a strong finishing kick to stun inaugural champion Batangas City-Tanduay, 81-67, Wednesday night for its first victory in the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League Datu Cup at Bataan People’s Center.
Former Ateneo stalwart Vince Tolentino fired 12 points and grabbed 10 rebounds on top of five assists as the Risers, who went winless in two home games last season, delivered a memorable home debut to atone for their opening-game setback to Manila.
Ex-pros Robby Celiz and Gary David added 11 points apiece for Bataan, which turned a close game into a rout in the fourth quarter after putting the clamps on Batangas’ shooters.
“It was a big factor that the crowd was behind us and the guys were really inspired tonight,” said Bataan coach Jojo Lastimosa, whose team closed out the game on an 11-0 run. “Everybody just stepped up.”
The Risers also got solid efforts from former University of Santo Tomas center Jeepy Faundo and Pamboy Raymundo in the second half, even as the Athletics ran out of steam after a strong start.
It was the first loss of Batangas in the tournament and just third overall since the Rajah Cup, where the Athletics went 16-2 en route to the crown.
Earlier, Navotas hammered out a second straight victory following a 59-55 triumph at the expense of Caloocan Supremos-Longrich.
Levi Hernandez and Kyle Neypes combined for 27 points, but it was the Clutch’s airtight defense down the stretch that ensured coach Ritchie Ticzon’s charges stayed unbeaten despite committing 28 turnovers.
“We turned the ball over so many times and that is something we need to address,” Ticzon said.
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