Sarangani and Bacolod stretched their win runs in contrasting fashion on Tuesday in the MPBL (Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League) 4th Season at the people-packed Bren Z. Guiao Convention Center in San Fernando, Pampanga.
The Sarangani Marlins kept their poise in the wake of Pampanga’s final assault to prevail, 68-65, and gain the solo lead in the 22-team tournament with a 4-0 slate.
Bacolod Bingo Plus pulled away in the fourth quarter en route to a 76-59 dumping of Manila Stars and a 3-0 card.
Sarangani was ahead, 64-57, with 1:53 left in the third quarter when Pampanga sued for time.
Pampanga quickly retaliated with an 8-point cluster, capped by back-to-back triples by homegrown talents Jayson Castro Apolonio and Archie Concepcion to seize control, 65-62, only 52 seconds to go.
Sarangani, however, countered with 4 straight points to seal the victory and pull down Pampanga to 1-1.
Andy Estrella led Sarangani with 14 points and 5 assists while 6-foot-6 Jonjon Gabriel came through with 12 points, 11 rebounds and 2 blocks. YouTube sensation Kyt Jimenez added 9 points, 7 rebounds and 3 steals followed by Yvan Ludovice with 8 points and 10 boards.
John Lorenz Capulong and Apolonio scored 15 points each for Pampanga while Mitchelle Maynes added 12 and Concepcion 11.
Bacolod, which led by as many as 19 (74-55) drew 19 points, 9 rebounds and 4 assists from Jhan McHale Nermal, 13 points and 13 rebounds from veteran Mark Yee and 12 points from Alwyn Alday.
No Manila player was able to crack double digits with Dan Sara and Joshua Fontanilla making 8 points. New Fil-Am acquisition Jeremy Arthur contributed 6 points, 7 rebounds and 4 steals for the Stars, who tasted their third straight defeat.