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Cebu continues late playoff push with win over Parañaque

Bongbong Nuñez soars for the easy layup. MPBL
By Ivan Saldajeno

MANILA—Cebu continues to hang on in the race for the last MPBL playoff spot with a 79-70 win over Parañaque at the Bataan People's Center in Balanga on Wednesday night.

Needing to win their remaining games to stay alive, the Sharks found themselves at the brink of elimination as the also-ran Patriots looked to play spoilers after taking a 36-35 halftime lead.

Cebu, however, came alive in the third quarter, dropping 30 points to go up, 65-54, at the end of the period.

Parañaque tried to come back early in the fourth quarter, cutting the lead down to two, 72-70, with 5:07 left, but Cebu held its opponent scoreless the rest of the way while making seven straight points to ice the game.

Bongbong Nuñez led the Sharks, who moved up to 15-14, a half-game behind the Bicol Volcanoes for eighth place in the Southern Division, with 20 points, 10 rebounds, five assists, and two steals. Will McAloney added 19 points, 14 rebounds, three assists, and two steals.

While the team is immediately behind Bicol, Cebu must actually hope that GenSan falters in its last two games to get a chance to sneak into the postseason.

The Warriors, who have the worst head-to-head quotient in case a three-way tie for seventh to ninth places between them, the Volcanoes, and the Sharks, will play the Makati Skyscrapers on Thursday night at the Alonte Sports Arena in Biñan and the Sarangani Marlins on Monday night at the San Andres Sports Complex here.

"Sana matalo yung GenSan twice," Coach Noynoy Falcasantos, whose Cebu side still has to play Batangas City next Wednesday, hopes.

Jayboy Solis and Vinny Begaso each had 12 points for the Patriots, who slipped further to 8-21.

The scores:

Cebu-Casino Ethyl Alcohol (79) -- Nuñez 20, McAloney 19, Lao 11, Mantilla 9, Lee Yu 9, Galvez 4, Saycon 3, Coronel 3, Cortes 0, Ubalde 0

Parañaque-Yabo Sports (70) -- Begaso 12, Solis 12, Sunga 11, Vizcarra 7, Saguiguit 6, Abugan 4, Banzali 4, Menguez 3, Antonares 3, Mangalino 2, Lucente 2, Rabe 0

Quarterscores: 18-21, 35-36, 65-54, 79-70

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno