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MPBL: Nueva Ecija edges Mindoro to go 2-0

Rob Celiz provides power for Nueva Ecija. MPBL
By Dugout Philippines

CALASIAO--Nueva Ecija flashed its old form to subdue Mindoro, 79-68, on Saturday in the MPBL Sixth Season at the Calasiao Sports Complex.

The Rice Vanguards, the 2022 national champions, started slow, then revved up their drive behind an 8-point run that fueled them to a 53-37 spread and a second straight victory in the elimination round of the country's top regional league,

It was all Nueva Ecija from there, as the Rice Vanguards drew firepower from Rob Celiz, JP Maguliano, and Jay Collado to repel the Tamaraws' repeated assaults.

Celiz finished with 16 points and 5 rebounds to earn best player honors. Maguliano posted 11 points plus 5 rebounds and Collado tallied 10 points plus 3 rebounds for Nueva Ecija, now being coached by Jonathan Banal.

Other Rice Vanguards who delivered were MJ Ayaay with 9 points and 7 rebounds and prized recruit JB Bahio with 8 points and 6 rebounds.

Mindoro, which tasted its fourth straight defeat after an initial win, got 12 points each from homegrown John Jerrick Caspe and veteran Ken Bono, 11 points from top gun Paul Desiderio, and 8 from homegrown Rogel Vaygan.

Although outrebounded, the Rice Vanguards frolicked inside, making 44 points against only 22 for the Tamaraws.

The Tamaraws committed 14 turnovers that paved the way for 18 points by the Rice Vanguards against only 4 by the Tamaraws.

Box Scores:

NUEVA ECIJA 79 - Celiz 16, Maguilano 11, Collado 10, Ayaay 9, Bahio 8, Cosejo 8, Cullar 7, Magbuhos 6, Dagangon 2, Bitoon 2, Costelo 0, Arenas 0, Mocon 0, Balucanag 0, Derige 0.

MINDORO 68 - Caspe 12, Bono 12, Desiderio 11, Vaygan 8, Estrella 7, Teodoro 6, Ariar 5, Reyes 4, Lopez 2, Aquino 1, Olivarez 0, Samonte 0, Huerto 0, Pableo 0, Pena 0.

Quarterscores: 19-20, 45-35, 68-52, 79-68

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