Pampanga clobbers Marikina, moves on to MPBL North semis

Balti Baltazar is still impressive off the bench. MPBL
By Ivan Saldajeno

CALOOCAN--Pampanga sealed its place in the next round of the MPBL Playoffs after whipping Marikina, 81-61, in Game 2 of their first-round series on Friday night at the Caloocan Sports Complex.

A strong finish to the first quarter set up Pampanga's blowout win to sweep its best-of-three series against Marikina as the team now awaits the winner of the first-round tie between Pasig and Caloocan in the North Division semifinals.

Looking to send the series back to San Fernando City, Pampanga for Game 3, the Shoemasters actually had a fine start and led, 12-8, midway through the first quarter.

However, the Giant Lanterns finished the period on an 18-3 run to open a 28-15 lead and never looked back from there.

In a rare appearance off the bench, Balti Baltazar led Pampanga with 22 points, 11 rebounds, five assists, and one steal.

MJ Garcia and Arwind Santos also impressed off the bench with 13 markers each.

Mark Atabay led Marikina, the first team eliminated from postseason play, with 16 points, 13 rebounds, four assists, two steals, and two blocks.

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