Bataan keeps MPBL playoff hopes alive without sweat as Laguna loses by forfeiture

Jerome Garcia's Laguna squad had to pay the price for coming into the game 45 minutes late. MPBL (file photo)
By Ivan Saldajeno

MANILA—One of the last things that could happen to a professional basketball team just took place on Tuesday night.

Laguna was awarded a forfeiture loss for failing to show up in time for its MPBL game against Bataan at the Nueva Ecija Coliseum in Palayan.

Scheduled for a 4 p.m. tip-off, the Heroes only arrived at the arena at around 4:45 p.m.

According to MPBL rules, a team must be in the venue already 15 minutes before game time, but if they are still not inside by the scheduled tip-off time, they would be given a 15-minute grace period before a forfeiture would be declared.

With the development, the Risers kept their playoff hopes alive as they moved up to 11-12, 1.5 games behind the Marikina Shoemasters for the eighth seed in the Northern Division.

On the other hand, the Heroes, already out of the Southern Division playoff picture, fell to 3-21.

This is the first time in the MPBL a team forfeited a game for tardiness and the second overall dating back to Basilan's COVID-19 scare back in 2021 that forced them to concede the MPBL Southern Division Finals rubber match to eventual national champion Davao Occidental during the Olongapo bubble that finished the long-postponed 2019-2020 season.

The other two games continued on as scheduled with Quezon beating Valenzuela, 89-77, and Nueva Ecija snapping its two-game skid at home with a 69-65 squeaker over Pasig in a potential first-round series preview.

Quezon, which ironically had to play their next game in Nueva Ecija after beating them in Lucena last week, is now tied with Zamboanga for fourth place in the South standings at 16-6.

They are also a full game behind GenSan for third place, 1.5 games back of Batangas City for second, and two games behind Bacoor City for the top seed in the South.

Nueva Ecija, on the other hand, moved back to solo second place at 19-4, 1.5 games behind Pampanga for the top seed in the North, while Pasig dropped to sixth place at 16-8.

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