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Pampanga escapes past Bacoor in Game 2 thriller to go 2-0 up in MPBL Finals

Archie Concepcion stepped up for Pampanga in Balti Baltazar's MVP coronation night. MPBL
By Ivan Saldajeno

SAN FERNANDO, Pampanga—Pampanga took a commanding 2-0 lead in the MPBL National Finals after subduing Bacoor City, 68-65, in Game 2 on Tuesday night at the Bren Z. Guiao Convention Center here.

A crucial 7-0 run midway through the fourth quarter was all the Giant Lanterns needed to keep afloat after the Strikers still tried to steal the pivotal road win to give them much momentum as the best-of-five series will shift to Bacoor for Game 3 on Saturday night.

Tied at 61-all with 5:40 left, Pampanga banked on clutch layups from Archie Concepcion, MJ Garcia, and Encho Serrano to give them a 68-61 cushion with two and a half minutes left.

Bacoor City stayed in the game as Mark Yee scored on a crucial layup and Jhan Nermal hit two free throws to cut the lead down to three with 1:20 to go.

The team even had a chance to force overtime, but James Kwekuteye missed a corner three and Yee failed to launch a three of his own in time. 

Concepcion and Balti Baltazar each scored 13 points with the latter, who was formally named the regular season MVP earlier in the night, also tallying 12 rebounds for the Giant Lanterns, who could complete the finals sweep in Game 3. 

Kwekuteye had 16 points, five rebounds, two assists, and two steals for the Strikers, who need to win the remaining three games to steal the championship away. 

Follow him on X: @IvanSaldajeno

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