Orlan Wamar delivers dagger plays as San Juan stuns Nueva Ecija to open MPBL North semis

Orlan Wamar took part in the Knights' last five points to steal the win from the Rice Vanguards. MPBL
By Ivan Saldajeno

SAN FERNANDO, Pampanga--Orlan Wamar took charge late as San Juan stunned Nueva Ecija, 86-82, at the start of the MPBL national quarterfinals on Friday night at the Bren Z. Guiao Convention Center.

Just like last year in the North Division Finals, the Knights took Game 1 of their North semifinals against the Rice Vanguards, and Wamar made it possible.

Wamar drove through the lane and scored the go-ahead layup with 31.7 seconds left while getting hit in the face by Byron Villarias, who was charged with the unsportsmanlike foul after the review.

Although Wamar missed the bonus free throw, he made up for it by assisting on Marvin Taywan's dagger corner three with 16.1 seconds left.

Wamar finished with 19 points on 6-of-9 shooting, four rebounds, seven assists, and three steals to lead San Juan.

Nico Panganiban added 17 points, nine rebounds, six assists, and one steal.

Villarias and Cris Bitoon each scored 14 points to pace Nueva Ecija.

The Knights now hope to finally eliminate the Rice Vanguards after blowing their best-of-three series last year.

Game 2, however, will be at the Nueva Ecija Coliseum in Palayan next Friday.

Follow him on X: @IvanSaldajeno