Rizal stuns Batangas City on Q4 blast

By Ivan Saldajeno

BACOOR–Rizal got back to its winning ways on Tuesday night in the MPBL Lakan Season after shocking Batangas City, 78-76, at the STRIKE Gym.

The Crusaders pulled off a late fourth quarter comeback to steal the win, just their second of the year, against the Athletics.

Down 71-74 with 2:32 left, Rizal went on a 7-0 run sparked by five straight points from Mark Benitez and capped by the eventual Dagger from JP Vidal to take a 78-74 lead with 13 seconds to play.

Jason Melano kept Batangas City in the game after scoring on a layup with seven seconds to go even as his team forced Kelvin Gregorio to a five-second inbound violation.

Dennice Villamor got a golden chance to win it for the Athletics, but his three-point buzzer-beater rimmed out.

Benitez made a career-high 27 points alongside eight rebounds, two assists, and three steals for Rizal.

Vidal added 18 points, seven rebounds seven assists, and one steal off the bench.

Melano came up with 21 markers, 14 boards, two dimes, one steal, and one block for Batangas City.

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno