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Iloilo opens MPBL Invitational with win vs. Negros

By Ivan Saldajeno

PASAY--Iloilo put up a solid finish to trounce Negros, 83-77, at the start of the Chooks-to-Go MPBL Invitational on Saturday at the Mall of Asia Arena here.

The United Royals asserted control of the fourth quarter after the Muscovados showed that they are no pushovers despite being the regional league's newcomers.

Just when Iloilo thought it would be cruising to a blowout win after taking a 48-39 halftime lead, Negros came alive in the third quarter and cut the lead to just one, 61-60, entering the fourth.

The United Royals restored order by reinstating a 10-point cushion, 76-66, midway through the fourth period and never looked back.

Chito Jaime led Iloilo with 18 points and two rebounds, while Aaron Jeruta and Donald Gumaru each added 12 markers.

JP Maguiliano collected a double-double of 10 points and 13 rebounds with one assist and three steals off the bench.

Jafet Claridad fired 19 points, four rebounds, and three steals for Negros.

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno

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