By Ivan Saldajeno
MANILA—A long layoff turned out to be too lengthy for Batangas City as the inaugural MPBL champion struggled and bowed against Manila, 73-50, at the San Andres Sports Complex on Tuesday night.
The Stars stifled the Athletics in the second half, holding them to just 21 points including seven in the fourth quarter to pull away for good at home.
Cris Bitoon made 20 points, eight rebounds, three assists, and one steal for Manila, which moved up to 4-1, taking solo third spot in the Northern Division.
Aris Dionisio added 12 points, eight rebounds, four assists, one steal, and three blocks, while Ronnie Matias flirted with a triple-double after tallying nine points, nine boards, and eight dimes with two steals and two blocks.
Jeff Viernes put up 12 points, two rebounds, three assists, and one block off the bench for Batangas City, which fell to 1-1.
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