Pampanga, San Juan set MPBL North Finals clash as Nueva Ecija ousted as national champ

Adrian Nocum performed a near-flawless performance to help San Juan dethrone Nueva Ecija as MPBL champ. MPBL (file photo)
By Ivan Saldajeno

MANILA--A new MPBL national champion will be crowned this year as San Juan removed Nueva Ecija from its throne with an 88-80 win in Game 2 of their North Division Semifinals on Friday night at the Nueva Ecija Coliseum in Palayan.

Like last year, the Knights dealt the Rice Vanguards their first home loss in a playoff game, but this time the Knights made sure the Rice Vanguards will be out of contention.

In a tight showdown with Nueva Ecija's season on the line, a back-breaking triple from Marvin Taywan and an and-1 from Mike Calisaan helped San Juan sweep its way into the North finals.

Calisaan finished with a pro career-high 30 points on 11-for-19 field goals, 18 rebounds, one assist, and three steals to lead the Knights.

Adrian Nocum added 17 points on 7-of-10 shooting, five rebounds, five assists, and one block.

Will McAloney led the Rice Vanguards with 21 points on 7-of-9 shooting, four rebounds, one block, and four steals.

In the first game, Pampanga swept its own North semis against Batang Kankaloo with a 93-77.

The Giant Lanterns pulled away in the fourth quarter, outscoring Batang Kankaloo, 27-13.

Encho Serrano led Pampanga with 22 points, two rebounds, and six assists, while Balti Baltazar added 16 points, 20 rebounds, seven assists, one block, and two steals.

Reil Cervantes led Batang Kankaloo with 16 points, four rebounds, and six assists.

Game 1 of the North finals between the Knights and Giant Lanterns is set for Nov. 11 at the Bren Z. Guiao Convention Center in San Fernando City, Pampanga.

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