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Pampanga pulls away from Cebu to force tie for 4th spot in MPBL North

Levi Hernandez helped the Giant Lanterns force a tie with the Bataan Risers for the fourth seed. MPBL
By Ivan Saldajeno

PASAY--Pampanga now has a huge shot at taking the fourth seed in the MPBL Northern Division Playoffs after routing Cebu, 88-77, at the Cuneta Astrodome on Tuesday night.

The Giant Lanterns survived a bunch of errors early on and broke loose from the upset seeking Sharks with a 23-11 run in the first nine minutes of the fourth quarter.

"The whole game we controlled them eh, kaso nakakakuha ang Cebu sa errors namin, kaya nakakahabol ang Cebu. Pero noong huli, hindi na namin binitawan yung lamang," said Coach Bong Ramos on the crucial win.

Levi Hernandez fired 21 points, one assist, one steal, and one block for Pampanga, which is now tied with Bataan for fourth place at 19-9.

Michael Juico added 15 points, 13 rebounds, four assists, two steals, and one block, while Dexter Maiquez chipped in 14 points, 11 rebounds, two assists, one block, and one steal.

Will McAloney made 17 markers, 17 boards, two blocks, and six steals for Cebu, whose last dash to make the playoffs suffered a huge blow as the team fell to 13-14, 1.5 games behind Bicol for the eighth spot in the Southern Division. In effect, Iloilo and Zamboanga formally made their way to the playoffs.

The Scores:

Pampanga 88 - Hernandez 21, Juico 15, Maiquez 14, Apreku 7, Muyang 6, Fabian 6, Thompson 4, Alberto 4, Cruz 3, Gomez 3, Concepcion 0.

Cebu-Casino Ethyl Alcohol 77 - McAloney 17, Octobre 14, Lee Yu 10, Nuñez 9, Ubalde 8, Galvez 7, Coronel 5, Mantilla 3, Viloria 2, Cortes 2, Saycon 0, Lao 0.

Quarterscores: 21-17, 43-41, 65-61, 88-77.

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno