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Valenzuela rejoins logjam for M-League North top spot after beating Taguig

Erwin Sta. Maria is wide open for the jumper.
By Dugout Philippines

Valenzuela gained a share of the lead in the North Division while Pateros grabbed the solo lead in the South Division by winning over their respective opponents Saturday in the PBA and MMDA-backed Metro League Open basketball tournament at the Caloocan City Sports Complex.

The Workhorses of head coach and PBA legend Gerry Esplana defeated Taguig 89-83 for its second win in as many games, tying Quezon City, also with a 2-0 slate, atop the North Division of this tourney which has “mobile app ng bayan” Barangay 143 as presentor, Spalding as the official ball and Team Rebel Sports as official outfitter.

Pateros meanwhile relied on a bounce-back 30-point performance from Rickson Gerero to clobber Las Piñas 93-77 to improve to 2-1 and take over leadership in the South Division of this two-month long tournament which also has Synergy 88, San Miguel Corp., World Balance, Frabelle Foods, Summit Mineral Water, Alco Plus, Gerry’s Grill, Excellent Noodles, glitter.ph, SM Supermalls and Nature’s Spring as major sponsors

In other games, Michael Jhon Perez delivered the game-winning basket with time running out as Caloocan handed Manila a first defeat 102-100 and improved to 2-1, the same record as its victim while Solid San Juan-Big Chill finally broke into the winning column after a hardluck 0-2 start by beating Parañaque 74-60.

Meanwhile, action resumes Tuesday at the Parañaque Sports Hall with a tripleheader where Taguig looks to bounce back and grab a share of the South Division lead by taking on Manila, Solid San Juan eyeing a second straight win at the expense of still-winless Marikina and host Parañaque looking recover to lost ground against dangerous Caloocan.

The Generals battle the All-Stars at 4 p.m., Solid San Juan taking on the Shoelanders at 5:30 p.m. and the Green Berets clashing with the Supremos All-Star in the 7 p.m. nightcap.

Valenzuela drew big numbers from Erwin Sta. Maria (16 points, seven rebounds and five assists), Josiah Esplana (15 points), Ford Ruaya (13 points) and John Tayongtong (11 points) to beat the Generals.

Dave de la Virgen and Marlon Monte combined for 36 points for the Generals, who dropped to 1-1.

Led by Perez, the Supremos All-Star unleashed a fiery 11-2 wind-up to erase a 91-98 deficit with 2:12 remaining and escape with their second straight win after an opening-day setback to Valenzuela.

Manila took a 98-91 lead on five straight points by Jayford Rodriguez, including a free throw on a bench technical slapped on Caloocan. But seven unaswered points by the Supremos – five by Johnnel Bauzon and two by MJ Enriquez – tied the score at 98-all with still 1:24 left.

Mark Cruz of Manila nailed two free throws and Perez hit a lay-up to keep the score at 100-all.

But misses by Cruz and Almer Orquina set up the stage for Perez’s heroics.

Aevin Coquia finished with 27 points on 9-of-17 shooting, Bauzon added 20 points and 11 rebounds and Perez contributed 19 points and six rebounds for the Rensy Bajar-mentored Supremos All-Star.

Orquina had 25 points and Cruz had 21 points and 11 rebounds for Manila, which missed the services of ex-PBA star Joseph Yeo.

San Juan limited Parañaque to only 13 points in the first quarter and six points in the second period to finally claim its first win after two consecutive losses.

John Patrick Acol and Homer Jagunap scored 17 points apiece and King Astrero had 13 for San Juan, which lost its first two matches to Taguig and Quezon City.

A total of 10 cities divided into two groups -- North and South -- are seeing action in the event

Only the top four teams from each group will advance to the division semifinals after the eliminations where teams play each other once including those in the other division.

The scores:

Caloocan 102 -- Coquia 27, Bauzon 20, Perez 19, Enriquez 12, Torrado 7, De Mesa 6, Pacheco 4, Principe 3, Sombero 2, Mayuyo 2, Ligon 0, Tamayo 0.

Manila 100 -- Orquina 25, Cruz 21, Rodriguez 20, Yu 10, Manila 10, Acibar 7, Quiminales 4, Matignas 2, Mallari 1, Luke 0, Martinez 0, Tubera 0.

Quarterscores: 16-31, 47-53, 74-72, 102-100.


San Juan 74 - Jagunap 17, Acol 17, Astrero 13, Magbanua 7, Rosopa 7, Dada 5, Elarmo 5, Magbitang 3, Saret 0, Bautista 0, Clarianes 0, Osorio 0.

Parañaque 60 -- Indoy 19, Partosa 13, Custodio 8, Dalaten 7, Gusi 7, Villareal 4, Encela 2, Danac 0, Labog 0, Rodriguez 0, Geronaga 0, Elorde 0.

Quarterscores: 20-13, 43-19, 57-40, 74-60.

Pateros 93 -- Gerero 30, Mercado 18, Lopez 15, Capus 14, Brojan 6, Mabazza 5, Ilac 2, Bernabe 2, Bucasa 1, Pacleb 0, Singontiko 0, Cruz 0, Asis 0.

Las Piñas 77 -- Vito Cruz 20, Dickens 16, Alvarado 15, Gragasin 10, Uduba 10, Sta. Rosa 3, Santos 3, Villamor 0.

Quarterscores: 32-8, 48-32, 69-58, 93-77.

Valenzuela 89 -- Sta. Maria 16, Esplana 15, Ruaya 13, Tayongtong 11, Natividad 8, Pascua 6, Gamboa 6, Rivera 5, Chua 4, Luz 2, Martin 2, Kalaw 1, Vianjohn 0, Espinosa 0.

Taguig 83 -- Dela Virgen 19, Monte 17, Albo 16, Lontoc 7, Lumungsod 6, Alcantara 4, Gilbero 4, Ferriols 4, Mayo 2, Almerol 2, Tiburcio 2, Oliveria 0, Tunggal 0, Cervantes 0, Cambaya 0.

Quarterscores: 24-13, 46-29, 68-50, 89-83.

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