Valenzuela bucks late Mandaluyong push for home win

By Ivan Saldajeno

MANILA--Valenzuela held off one final hurrah from Mandaluyong and walked out of its home a 78-64 victor in the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League Datu Cup at the Valenzuela City Astrodome on Tuesday night.

The Classic actually had to deal with two comeback bids by the El Tigre in the second half before hacking out the home win.

Valenzuela began breaking away from Mandaluyong at the end of the first quarter, closing the opening 10 minutes with 10 straight points behind triples from Chris De Chavez and Mikee Reyes for a 24-13 lead entering the second, where the home team led by as much as 21.

The El Tigre showed some signs of life just before halftime when they ended the second quarter on a 7-2 run to cut the lead to 16, 43-27, by the half, and they eventually came to within nine, 42-51, midway through the third period.

But back-to-back triples from De Chavez sparked a 12-1 Classic run to once again up the lead to 20, 63-43. Floyd Dedicatoria then scored the opening the basket of the fourth period to give them their largest lead at 22.

After an exchange of deuces, Mandaluyong put up one final push, scoring 13 straight points to once again trim the gap to nine, 67-58, with 4:35 to play.

But Valenzuela held Mandaluyong scoreless for a little over two minutes that helped the team hold on.

De Chavez dropped a total of six triples to finish with 20 points alongside three rebounds and three steals in just 18 minutes off the bench for the Classic, who moved up to 6-9, just a half-game behind their victims, who slipped to 6-8, in the Northern Division standings.

Chad Alonzo continued on his improved scoring and chipped in 10 markers with six rebounds, three assists, two steals, and one block.

Josan Nimes made 15 points, one board, and two assists for the El Tigre.

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