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Manila survives against Bulacan at start of MPBL playoffs

By Ivan Saldajeno

MANILA—Manila bounced back from a lethargic second quarter to edge Bulacan, 69-65, at the start of the 2019 MPBL Playoffs at the Bataan People's Center in Balanga on Tuesday night.

The Stars, who became well-known for holding the Cebu City Sharks scoreless for one entire quarter, were nearly dealt a similar shutdown as the Kuyas held them to just five points in the second period and took a 25-24 halftime lead.

Fifth-seeded Bulacan was on the verge of shocking fourth-seeded Manila after extending its lead to 10, 44-34, with 3:31 to play in the third quarter.

But the Stars ended the period with a 13-3 run to force a 47-all tie.

They then put up another 13-3 blast in the fourth quarter to go up, 60-52, with 4:32 left.

The Kuyas still put up one final push, going on a 6-1 run to trim the lead to three, 61-58, with 2:15 remaining, but they faded in the end.

Aris Dionisio made 11 points, 17 rebounds, three assists, five blocks, and four steals for Manila, which took a 1-0 lead in their best-of-three series.

Gwynne Capacio put up a career-high 23 points, nine rebounds, one assist, and one steal for Bulacan.

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno