MPBL: Imus, Nueva Ecija, Basilan keep slates clean
Four teams closed in on quarterfinal slots after Thursday’s matches in the 2021 Chooks-to-Go Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League Invitational at SM Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.
Unbeaten squads Imus, Nueva Ecija and Basilan tripped separate foes to keep their slate clean and stand at the door step of the next round, along with Bacolod, which notched its third win in four games in matches held in front of a limited number of fans.Imus Buracai de Laiya subdued Mindoro EOG Burlington, 77-70, for its third straight victory in the 6-team Group A.
It didn’t come easy for Imus, which saw its head coach Manny Torralba faint in the fourth quarter following an argument with the referees. As it turned out, Torralba had a low sugar level and high blood pressure as he did not take his insulin maintenance. Torralba was brought to a hospital but has been discharged and is now on home rest.
The Nueva Ecija Rice Vanguards and Basilan Jumbo Plastic Medical Depot were in even more fearsome form as they routed Valenzuela City-MJAS Zenith, 100-77, and Marikina Shoe City, 98-83, respectively.
Nueva Ecija, under coach Giancarlo Tan, had six players in twin digits with 6-foot-7 Will Gozum and Chris Bitoon posting 16 each, John Bryon Villarias and Renz Palma 14 each, and Michael Mabulac and Roi Sumang with 10 each.
The Rice Vanguards are 2-0 in the 5-team Group C, same as Basilan in the 5-team Group B.
The Bacolod All-star Ballers of coach Alex Angeles drew 18 points, 14 rebounds and five blocks from Nhomer Angeles to trounce the Caloocan Excellence, 85-65.
In the fifth and last game, the Bulacan Kuyas kept their bid going by beating Rizal EMKAI Xentromall, 87-79. Bulacan and Rizal are tied at 1-2 in the 6-team Group D.