MPBL: San Juan Knights thrive with target on their backs
MANILA, Philippines–With the game still far from decided in the third period, San Juan forward Mac Cardona looked at his wrist before banking in a shot from point blank range as if to say he had plenty of time before Quezon City could catch up with him and his team.
The move may speak more of Cardona’s swagger, but it’s also a clear indication at how the Knights have been comfortable with a target on their backs as the league’s reigning champions.
The Knights extended their unbeaten start to eight games after an 88-71 drubbing of Quezon City last Monday night in the Lakan Season at Filoil Flying V Centre in San Juan.
Veteran gunner John Wilson finished with 21 points and 10 rebounds, while Jhonard Clarito pulled down 14 boards for San Juan, which also tied Muntinlupa for the best start in league history – a feat the Cagers achieved in the Lakan Season.
Unlike in their previous clash against Bataan where they had to rally from 11 points down in the final period, the Knights took control in the third as they pulled away from a 44-43 count after Cardona’s basket that drew laughter from the crowd.
“We know that every team will bring out their best game against us,” said San Juan coach Randy Alcantara. “Right now, its all about matching that energy and intensity. The players have shown a lot of maturity in dealing with the challenges.”
Less than a week after taking down championship contender Bacoor, Pasay took down another giant in Batangas City, 72-61, behind a strong game from Dhon Reverente.
Signed from Muntinlupa at the start of the season, Reverente showcased a sterling effort, finishing with 26 points and grabbing 15 rebounds as the Voyagers made a quick turnaround after losing four in a row.
Following their huge back-to-back victories against crack teams, the Voyagers now improved their win-loss record to 5-5.
Meanwhile, Nueva Ecija rewarded new coach Alvin Grey with a win as the MiGuards snapped a five-game losing skid following an 85-82 nipping of the Cagers.