|Jhong Bondoc helped Navotas eliminate Valenzuela City from playoff contention. MPBL|
By Dugout Philippines
BIÑAN, LAGUNA -- Also-ran Navotas-Unipak Sardines ended Valenzuela-Carga Backload Solutions' playoffs hopes with an 88-83 upset in the 2019 Chooks-to-Go/MPBL Lakan Season at Alonte Sports Arena here, Friday.
Down by 11 points in the final frame, ex-pros Val Acuña and Paolo Hubalde did not allow Valenzuela to go down without a fight. The duo led a 14-4 surge to trim Navotas' lead to two points, 74-76, with 3:28 remaining left in the game.
Navotas led by as much as six points behind Renz Gonzales and Algin Andaya. But with 59 ticks remaining, Acuña was able to pull Valenzuela to within three with a three-point bomb, 83-86.
However, a costly inbound violation from Paul Varilla followed by a technical foul from Valenzuela head coach Ronjay Enrile spelled doom for the Classic.
Gonzales, Andaya, and Kojack Melegrito combined for four points from the charity stripe to completely seal the deal.
"We want to compete because that's the nature of the sport. Kahit na wala na, sabi ko sa kanila, 'We still have to play the right way," said Navotas head coach Gabby Severino.
Jhong Bondoc paced the also-ran Navotas with 19 points and seven rebounds while Melegrito and Gonzales followed with 10 points apiece.
The Unipak Sardines-owned squad upped their card to 7-19 in the Northern Division -- good for the fourteenth spot -- while also ending their three-game losing streak in the process.
Acuña finished with 24 points built on 16 three-pointers for the Classic, who dropped their slate to 10-16.
Navotas-Unipak Sardines (88) – Bondoc 19, Melegrito 10, Gonzales 10, Andaya 9, Guillen 8, Evangelista 8, Abdurasad 8, Prudente 6, Cabahug 3, Taywan 3, Escobal 3, Mamaclay 1, Matillano 0, Bautista 0
Valenzuela-Carga Backload Solutions (83) – Acuña 24, Hubalde 15, Varilla 10, Ruaya 9, Gimpayan 7, Santos 6, Asuncion 3, Sta. Maria 3, Ricafort 2, Armenion 2, Diego 2, Kalaw 0, Poligrates 0
Quarterscores: 15-11, 35-32, 62-60, 88-83
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