By Ivan Saldajeno
MANILA — The Bataan Risers moved closer to taking the top seed in the Northern Division Playoffs of the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League Datu Cup after prevailing on the road against the Marikina Shoemasters, 81-64, at the Marist School Gymnasium in Marikina on Monday night.
Bataan showed why it holds the best record this MPBL season, starting the game with six straight points and quickly building a double-digit lead.
The team eventually stretched it to as high as 23 points before holding Marikina down the stretch.
Yvan Ludovice fired 13 points, five rebounds, five assists, and one steal off the bench for the Risers, who moved up to 21-2.
Gary David put up 12 points and two rebounds, while Vince Tolentino added 10 points, five rebounds, three assists, and one block.
They can seal the top seed in the North — and the entire playoffs — with a home win against the Parañaque Patriots on Feb. 28.
Ronald Roy put up 16 points, four rebounds, four assists, and two steals off the bench for the now 8-15 Shoemasters, although he shot 5-of-17 from the field.
Ato Ular added a double-double of 11 markers and 14 boards.
The loss dropped the Shoemasters to a tie with the Patriots for 10th place in the Southern Division.
In the process, Marikina also fell to the brink of joining Rizal and Basilan as outright eliminated teams.
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