Batangas City, Valenzuela score wins at start of MPBL playoffs

Bong Quinto is all alone for the slam. MPBL
By Dugout Philippines

BATANGAS CITY–Batangas City and Valenzuela carved out contrasting wins over their respective quarterfinals rivals to move a win away from reaching the Final Four of the MPBL Anta-Rajah Cup at the Batangas City Coliseum here.

The Tanduay-backed Athletics unleashed their usual balance offensive game to outplay the Bataan Defenders-BaiShipping, 88-75, in Game 1 of their best-of-three quarterfinals series.

Val Acuna, fully recovered from a bout with flu, dished out his usual deadly form and finished with 16 points. He had nine of his team’s 21-point output in the opening quarter.

Teytey Teodoro contributed 13 markers, including 10 in the third when Batangas City pulled away for good, while Mon Rogado and Bong Quinto added 12 and 11 points, respectively for the Athletics, who posted their fourth win at home and remained undefeated at their own turf in this event put up by Senator Manny Pacquiao with former PBA Most Valuable Player Kenneth Duremdes serving as commissioner.

But while Batangas City’s big guns came out at the firing end, ex-PBA player Lester Alvarez concentrated on setting up his teammates. He had already dished out 10 assists in the first 20 minutes of play, but hardly saw action in the second half when Teodoro started to pick up the slack.

Batangas City head coach Mac Tan was satisfied with the way he played, but doesn’t want to get carried away as the series is far from over.

“I told them hindi pa tapos ito,” said Tan. “The most difficult thing to do is to close out the series.”

If Batangas City was able to take Game 1 via a breeze, Valenzuela had to do it the hard way.

The Yulz-supported Classic fought back from 15 points down in the first half before hacking out a 96-89 triumph over the Quezon City Capitals-Royal Manila and moved closer to securing a semifinals berth.

Valenzuela found itself trailing, 27-12, in the closing moments of the first period and was behind 72-63 with less than a minute in the third period, but the Classic slowly but surely inched their way closer in the fourth period.

Back-to-back treys from Drian Celada and Rocky Acidre put the Classic ahead, 82-80, for the first time with still 5:19 left.

Down the stretch, Valenzuela was able to play steadier while Quezon City’s surprising move of fielding in the injured Andoy Estrella backfired.

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