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Monday, June 24, 2024

Batangas, GenSan dispute right to face Bacoor for title

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BATANGAS City and General Santos City dispute the right to challenge Bacoor for the South Division crown at 7 p.m. on Tuesday in the MPBL (Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League) Fifth Season Playoffs at the Batangas City Coliseum.

The GenSan Warriors bested the Batangas City Embassy Chill Athletics, 61-55, at the same venue on Saturday to force the decider in their best-of-three semifinal series.

Batangas prevailed in the opener, 81-75, on October 28.

The winner between the Athletics and the Warriors will advance to the best-of-three division finals against the Bacoor Strikers, who swept reigning South champion and last year’s runner-up Zamboanga Family’s Brand Sardines, 2-0, in their semifinal series.

GenSan wasted a 15-point lead in the third quarter and needed a 7-point run by Hafer Mondragon and Enzo Joson in the last 1 minute and 7 seconds to dispose of Batangas, which briefly took control twice at 50-47 and 55-54.

For sure, the Athletics of Coach Cholo Villanueva have learned their lesson and won’t allow another breakaway by the Warriors.

GenSan Coach Rich Alvarez, however, believes his wards have shown their will to win even in front of a hostile, loud crowd.

Alvarez will again call on Mark Cruz, John Wilson, Larry Rodriguez, Joson and Mondragon to deliver against the Athletics, who are bidding to regain the Anta Rajah Cup title they won in the MPBL inaugural season in 2018.

Levi Hernandez, Cedrick Ablaza, Jeckster Apinan, Jong Baloria and Rhaffy Octobre will lead the Athletics.

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