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Caloocan forces tie for 8th seed with huge win at Muntinlupa

By Ivan Saldajeno

MUNTINLUPA--Caloocan made the race for the last spot in the MPBL Northern Division Playoffs a bit more complicated after edging Muntinlupa, 79-69, on Tuesday night at the Muntinlupa Sports Center.

In a showdown between teams still in the running to make the Final 16, the Excellence sizzled quickly on the road, opening a 28-16 lead against the Cagers.

Despite slowing its opponent down eventually, Muntinlupa could not complete the comeback, and JR Raflores shut them down with the dagger layup with 43 seconds left for the final tally.

Jomar Santos made 16 points and two rebounds, while Reil Cervantes added 14 points, four rebounds, four assists, and two steals for Caloocan, which tied Marikina for eighth place in the North at 6-13.

The Shoemasters, however, will play the Laguna Heroes, who dropped a 49-84 decision against the GenSan Warriors earlier Tuesday, on Thursday night at the Orion Sports Complex in Bataan.

Dom Matillano, inspired by his 3-Point Shootout win in Batangas City on Sunday night, put up 18 markers, one rebound, one dime, and two steals for Muntinlupa, which dropped to 4-15, a game and a half behind Imus for the eighth seed in the Southern Division.

The Bandera and the Cagers will collide on the final night of the regular season on Oct. 13 at the Caloocan Sports Complex to potentially decide who will clinch the last playoff spot.

Muntinlupa, however, will have one last home stand against also-ran Makati on Monday night, while Imus has two tough assignments next, against cross-province rival Bacoor City on Friday night in Palayan and against Zamboanga next Tuesday in San Fernando City, Pampanga.

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno

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