Bataan, Manila on collision course
Top seed Bataan sustained its fiery form by whipping Caloocan, 91-71, on Tuesday night to move within a victory of reaching the second round of the MPBL Datu Cup playoffs at Bataan People’s Center in Balanga City.
Unrelenting after a strong start, the Risers used a balanced offensive to overwhelm the Supremos, who came into the game riding high on a three-game winning streak.
Byron Villarias, the former NLEX reserve, fired 18 points to lead five other players in twin digits for coach Jojo Lastimosa’s team, which has lost only twice so far this season.
Earlier, Manila also closed in on a second-round berth—and a possible duel with Bataan—after a narrow 69-65 triumph over the Bulacan Kuyas in Game 1 of their own best-of-three series.
Dragged into a defensive battle, the Stars flexed their muscles, holding the Kuyas’ top guns Jerick Canada and James Martinez scoreless.
“Our shots weren’t falling so we really had to rely on our defense,” said Manila coach Philip Cezar in Filipino.
The Stars can wrap up the series at San Andres Sports Complex on Tuesday. Game 2 of the Bataan-Caloocan series is also slated on Tuesday. —CEDELF P. TUPAS