San Juan spoils Rizal's Cainta home debut

Quezon City's Andre Flores and Bacolod's Coy Alves battle for the rebound. MPBL
By Ivan Saldajeno

MANILA—San Juan gave Rizal a rude welcome to the One Arena in Cainta after scoring a 79-65 road win in their MPBL battle on Friday night.

Defense did the trick for the Knights as they held the Golden Coolers to just 11 points in each of the last two quarters after exchanging baskets in the first half.

Nikko Panganiban led San Juan, which moved up to 14-3, with 15 points on 7-for-10 shooting, six rebounds, and one assist, while Adrian Nocum and Zach Huang each added 10 points.

The team is now just a game behind Nueva Ecija for second place in the Northern Division and three games behind undefeated Pampanga for the top spot.

Troy Mallillin put up 14 points, 10 rebounds, three assists, two steals, and two blocks for Rizal, which fell to 7-12, putting some dent to their playoff hopes.

In the first game, Bacolod bolstered its bid for a playoff spot in the Southern Division with a 91-75 rout of Quezon City.

Bacolod banked on an impress all-around game from Dom Matillano, who finished with 21 points, seven rebounds, two assists, five steals, and two blocks.

The other game saw Batangas City keeping its chance on the South top seed alive with a 72-60 rout of slumping Bataan.

Levi Hernandez led the Embassy Chill, now at 13-4, with 16 points, one rebound, one assist, and one steal, while John Ambuludto added 15 points on 7-for-9 field goals, 11 rebounds, and one block.

They are now two games behind the Bacoor City Strikers for the top spot in the South.

Arvie Bringas led the Risers, who fell to 7-11, with 14 points, one rebound, and one assist.

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