Alvarez propels Batangas past Rizal
Lester Alvarez sparkled with a career-best 23 points as Rajah Cup champion Batangas City outlasted Rizal, 92-90, late Wednesday night for its fourth straight victory in the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League (MPBL) Datu Cup at Ynares Center in Antipolo.
With top gun Jeff Viernes struggling, Alvarez carried the fight early, hitting six treys, before teammates Bong Quinto and Jhaymo Eguilos finished off the Crusaders, combining for nine of their team’s last 11 points.
Makati also continued its winning ways as the Super Crunch used a strong finish to overcome Zamboanga, 77-65, for a third straight victory.
Jeckster Apinan had 19 points off the bench, JJ Manlangit chipped in 14 points and James Mangahas tallied 13 points and six assists as the Super Crunch improved to 9-4.
The Super Crunch got a total 61 points from their bench players as they took control starting the second quarter when Apinan, the standout from Jose Rizal U, caught fire with 12 points.
Zamboanga fought back in the third period to tie the game at 47 heading into the fourth quarter, before Mangahas nailed three treys to give Makati a buffer down the stretch.
Reed Juntilla, who averages close to 21 points per outing, was held to just 10 this time.
“Consistency on defense has been our calling card and we were able to show that in the fourth period,” said Makati coach Cholo Villanueva after they outscored Zamboanga, 30-18, in the final quarter.
Batangas climbed to fourth spot in the South division with an 8-6 record, while Rizal dropped to 4-10.
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