By Ricky Manliguis
ANTIPOLO-- Cebu City came with clutch hits down the stretch to nose out Valenzuela, 78-75, for its second straight win in the first game of the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League action Tuesday night at the Ynares Center.
Banking on crunchtime buckets by Patrick Cabahug and Rhaffy Octobre, the Casino Ethyl Alcohol-backed Sharks fended the stubborn Idol Cheesedogs to score its third win in 11 matches.
It was a nip-and-tuck game for three quarters, but the Sharks got going in the fourth period and even held a 72-68 lead on a triple by John Michael Abad with 1:23 left.
Chris De Chavez then tied the ballgame at 72 on four consecutive points, including a baseline jumper with 56.5 seconds remaining.
Cabahug broke the standoff with a putback with 22.4 seconds left, while Octobre canned in four consecutive free throws for a 78-73 count.
Valenzuela still had one last-ditch effort when Ryan Arambulo fished a foul on Sharks big William McAloney with 3.8 ticks left. After making the first two freebies, Arambulo intentionally missed the third, got the rebound, then passed to Kido Cabrera for a potential-tying three-ball.
Cabrera's shot though just hit the front iron, enabling Cebu City to escape with the win.
McAloney bulldozed his way with a double-double outing of 21 points and 14 rebounds, while Cabahug and Octobre cashed in 13 each for the Sharks.
Valenzuela fell deeper in the North Division standings with a 3-8 win-loss card. De Chavez finished with 22 points, while Rocky Acidre cashed in 17.
CEBU CITY 78-- McAloney 21, Cabahug 13, Octobre 13, Catli 11, Puerto 6, Abad 5, Cortes 2, Nuñez 2, Villafranca 0, Arong 0.
VALENZUELA 75-- Ch. De Chavez 22, Acidre 17, Ruaya 7, Mabigat 6, Hubalde 5, Arambulo 5, Cabrera 5, Alonzo 2, Dedicatoria 2, Gimpayan 2, Ca. De Chavez 2, Arellano 0, Kalaw 0.
Quarterscores: 16-21, 40-all, 56-all, 78-75.