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Bataan reopens gap with Manila for top spot with comeback win over Zamboanga

By Ivan Saldajeno

MANILA--Bataan reopened a half-game lead over Manila with a come-from-behind 76-74 home win against Zamboanga in the MPBL Datu Cup at the Bataan People's Center in Balanga on Monday night.

The Risers came back from a lethargic second quarter and the Valientes' second half threat to avert the upset and retain the best record of the season.

Bataan seemed to be cruising to send the new-look Zamboanga back to earth after posting a 25-19 lead after the first quarter.

But the Valientes limited the Risers to just 10 points in the second quarter as they entered halftime ahead, 37-35. They would enter the fourth quarter up by six, 58-52.

Bataan then went on a 14-3 run midway through the final period to open a 72-66 lead before holding off Zamboanga down the stretch.

Pamboy Raymundo came up with 15 points, two rebounds, four assists, and one steal for the Risers, who moved up to 16-2.

Gab Dagangon added 12 points, two rebounds, and three steals off the bench, while Alfred Batino chipped in 10 points, 12 rebounds, one assist, and two blocks.

Byron Villarias came close to a triple-double in his debut with the home side, putting up nine rebounds, eight points, and seven assists with two steals.

Von Lanete and Robin Roño each put up 18 markers for the Valientes, who fell to 11th place in the Southern Division at 7-11.

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno