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Rizal beats Balti-less Pampanga in early MPBL shocker

John Apacible scores on a layup. MPBL
By Dugout Philippines

LAS PINAS--Rizal XentroMall jolted the MPBL Sixth Season with a 78-71 stunner over defending national champion Pampanga on Tuesday at the Villar Coliseum.

Trailing by as far as 13-32, the Golden Coolers tied the Golden Coolers at halftime,  38-38, then controlled the rest of the way to join the ranks of the early leaders.

Feeling the absence of reigning MPBL MVP Justine Baltazar, who showed up in street clothes, the Giant Lanterns fell behind, 64-74, in the fourth quarter from which they were unable to recover.

Kraniel Victoria tallied 16 points, 7 rebounds, 7 assists, and 3 steals while Keith Agovida posted 16 points, 6 rebounds, 6 assists, and 3 steals for Rizal, which also drew 12 points, 13 rebounds, and 4 assists from Alwyn Alday.

Pampanga, which missed head coach Gov. Dennis Pineda who was abroad, got 13 points from Kurt Reyson, 11 points plus 12 rebounds from Brandon Ramirez, and 11 points plus 11 rebounds from Kevin Kyle Santos.

Although Pampanga still ruled the boards 60-47, the Giant Lanterns were hobbled by poor shot selection, making just 29 of 82 attempts for 35.4 percent, and free throw shooting, making just 8 of 21 attempts for 38.1 percent.

In contrast, Rizal converted 9 of 14 tries for 64.3 percent.

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