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Zamboanga outlasts Valenzuela in OT thriller to open MPBL Season 6

By Ivan Saldajeno

CALASIAO--Zamboanga showed its title contender pedigree in the overtime period to escape an 82-76 decision against Valenzuela at the start of the new MPBL season on Saturday night at the Calasiao Sports Complex.

Orin Catacutan's clutch three-pointer to save Valenzuela was the team's last hurrah as Zamboanga regained its offensive rhythm late in the five-minute extension to score the first win of the sixth season of the regional league.

Catacutan kept Valenzuela in the game as he forced overtime with a clutch three with 33 seconds left in regulation and even had a chance to win it outright only that his long three before the final buzzer just rimmed out.

The game remained tight for the first three minutes of the overtime, but a turnaround jumper from Jaycee Marcelino and two free throws from Renzo Subido iced the win for Zamboanga.

Marcelino led Zamboanga, which looks to finally win it all after falling short in the 2022 finals and getting ousted in the 2023 division semis, with 26 points on 12-of-21 shooting, eight rebounds, and one steal.

Rey Publico added 10 points on a perfect 4-for-4 shooting from inside the three-point arc, three rebounds, one assist, one block, and two steals.

In his return to the 5-of-5 circuit after starring for Manila Chooks in the 3x3 ranks, Dennis Santos led Valenzuela with 24 points, two rebounds, two steals, and three blocks.

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