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Nueva Ecija stuns Makati to stretch late MPBL season drive

Maclean Sabellina put up a double-double for the Rice Vanguards. MPBL
By Ivan Saldajeno

MANILA—Nueva Ecija continued its push for a strong finish to its MPBL Lakan Season with an 80-74 shocker over Makati at the Angeles University Foundation Gym on Saturday night.

The Rice Vanguards turned the tides in the second and the third quarters, outscoring the Skyscrapers, 50-33, to open a 62-49 lead entering the fourth quarter.

Makati tried to mount a comeback in the end, drawing to within 70-76 with 32.9 seconds left, and the team had another chance to move closer as Jai Reyes could only make a split from the free throw line off a Ced Ablaza foul with 31.5 seconds to go.

However, Josef Sedurifa lost the ball to Marlon Monte, who scored a fastbreak layup to ice the game for Nueva Ecija.

“In the second half, we got in a run… a little bit better movement, recognition on what we had there on the offensive end and that gave us that win,” Interim Coach Carlo Tan, who took over for the Rice Vanguards with Head Coach Charles Tiu handling Mighty Sports in the Dubai International Basketball Championship.

Maclean Sabellina led Nueva Ecija, which moved up to 10-18, with 17 points and 12 rebounds, while Reyes added 14 points, two rebounds, eight assists, and five steals.

Ablaza had 20 markers, three rebounds, two assists, and one steal off the bench for Makati, which slipped to 21-8.

The Scores:

Nueva Ecija (80) – Sabellina 17, Reyes 14, Reyes 12, Gonzaga 10, Martinez 9, Sarao 8, Garcia 5, Monte 5, Aquino 0, Celada 0, Dela Cruz 0, De Leon 0

Makati-Super Crunch (74) – Ablaza 20, Torralba 12, Apinan 12, Baloria 10, Atkins 7, Lingganay 5, Sedurifa 3, Manlangit 3, Cruz 2, Villanueva 0, Importante 0

Quarterscores: 12-16, 37-32, 62-49, 80-74

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno