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MPBL: Joseph Gabayni, Xyrus Torres go clutch as Zamboanga, Quezon stay unbeaten

Xyrus Torres delivers for Quezon. MPBL
By Dugout Philippines

MANILA--Joseph Gabayni sustained what twins Jaycee and Jayvee Marcelino triggered as Zamboanga Master Sardines thwarted South Cotabato, 85-83, on Monday and wrested the solo lead in the MPBL Sixth Season at the San Andres Sports Complex.

The burly Gabayni poured nine points in the last 3 minutes and 20 seconds to power Zamboanga to its fifth straight win in as many outings in the round-robin elimination phase of the 29-team regional tournament.

With Zamboanga trailing, 68-70, Jaycee scored on a drive, drilled in a triple, and then fed Jayvee for another incursion that put Coach Louie Alas' wards ahead to stay.

Michole Sorela pushed South Cotabato to within 72-75, but Gabayni bunched 5 points against a basket by Marwin Dionisio to restore order, 80-74, with 2 minutes and 30 seconds to go.

South Cotabato, formerly Gensan, threatened anew at 80-75 following back-to-back triples by Val Acuna and Kyle Tolentino, only for Gabayni to knock in a short jumper that pulled down the Warriors to a 2-3 record.

Jaycee, the 2022 MPBL MVP, finished with 20 points, 7 rebounds, 6 assists, and 4 steals and shared best player honors with Jayvee, who piled up 13 points, 8 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 steals, and 1 block. The 6-foot-5 Gabayni tallied 16 points and 7 rebounds.

South Cotabato got 15 points from Tolentino, 11 points each from Marwin Dionisio and Enzo Joson, 10 points from Larry Rodriguez, and 12 rebounds plus 4 points from Jammer Jamito.

Quezon Province came from behind to stun Manila SV Batang Sampaloc in the nightcap.

Xyrus Torres and Judel Fuentes split Quezon's last 10 points with 1 minute and 23 seconds left as the Huskers erased a 60-62 deficit and climbed to a 3-0 card.

Fuentes finished with 17 points and 4 rebounds to emerge as the best player over Torres, who posted 11 points plus 4 rebounds, and Ximone Sandagon, who notched 11 points and 5 rebounds.

Other Huskers who delivered were LJ Gonzales with 7 points, 7 rebounds, 7 assists, 2 steals, and 1 block, and Domark Matillano with 9 points and 5 rebounds.

Manila slid to 3-2 despite the 18-point effort of Rabeh Al-Hussaini as no other Star scored in double figures.

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