Bataan survives Manila; Cardona powers San Juan
Top seed Bataan survived a late onslaught from Manila and escaped with a thrilling 73-72 victory on Tuesday night to close in on a North division finals berth in the MPBL Datu Cup at Bataan People’s Center in Balanga, Bataan.
The top seeded Risers nearly squandered a 21-point fourth quarter lead against the Stars, before getting a cushion basket from Gab Dagangon down the stretch to take the series opener.
“I’ll take any win even if it’s ugly,” said Bataan coach Jojo Lastimosa, whose team can close out the series in Game 2 on Thursday at Filoil Flying V Centre in San Juan.
Later, Mac Cardona summoned his old, fiery form to carry San Juan to a resounding 94-86 win over Quezon City in Game 1 of their semifinal series.
On attack mode right from the start, Cardona fired a game-high 25 points on top of nine assists as the third-seeded Knights completed a wire-to-wire victory.
Mike Ayonayon also delivered with 17 points, seven rebounds and seven assists for the Knights, who can wrap up the series with a win at home on Thursday.
The Capitals drew a combined 59 points from guards Joco Tayongtong, Hesed Gabo and Andoy Estrella.
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