They may have the same unbeaten record, but the Nueva Ecija Rice Vanguards and the Sarangani Marlins are poles apart statistics-wise in the OKbet-MPBL (Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League) 4th Season presented by Xtreme.
Nueva Ecija is the league’s top offensive team, averaging 95.4 points an outing in dumping its five opponents by an average of 25 points.
Sarangani could only average 78.2 points, also in five games, for an average winning margin of 4.8.
They will clash at 7 p.m. on Saturday at the Orion Sports Complex in Bataan, with the Marlins raring to prove the numbers do not reflect their true strength and that OKbet did not err in backing their campaign in the 22-team, two-division tournament.
Other games pit GenSan (1-4) against Quezon City (1-2) at 5 p.m. and Valenzuela (4-2) against Bataan (2-1) at 9 p.m.
The star-studded Rice Vanguards are determined to grab their first crown in the country’s top regional league this year.
Touted as 3-deep in all positions, the Rice Vanguards will be led by all-stars Byron Villarias, Michael Mabulac, Michael Juico, Will McAloney and Chris Bitoon.
Multi-titled coach Jerson Cabiltes, however, can readily field inJay Collado, Pamboy Raymundo, Hesed Gabo, Mark Anthony Bringas, Jonathan Uyloan, JR Taganas, and Bobby Balucanag without disrupting the flow of the Rice Vanguards’ fluid game.
Although the Marlins struggled in their last game, needing overtime to thwart the GenSan Warriors, 79-77, they should be no pushovers under the guidance of Coach John Kallos.
Sarangani also has solid players in Yvan Ludovice, YouTube sensation Kyt Jimenez, Andrew Estrella, Paul Sanga, Regie Boy Basibas, Gabby Espinas, Macky Acosta and Jonjon Gabriel.