The Pasay Voyagers and Bacolod Master’s Sardines stunned fancied rivals in the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League Lakan Season on Thursday at the Cuneta Astrodome.
Showing that a fine line separates the MPBL’s middle-ranked teams and the powerhouses, the Voyagers thwarted the Bacoor Strikers, 83-78, while the Master’s Sardines nipped the Zamboanga Family’s Brand Sardines, 84-82.
Playing inspired ball at their home court, the Voyagers surged ahead, 64-48, and then fended off the rallying Strikers with clutch hits by Raymund Ilagan and Alejandro Inaigo.
The Voyagers, with Ilagan and Jan Jamon scoring 16 each, halted a four-game skid and snapped the Strikers’ six-game winning run to climb to 4-5.
The Strikers, touted to be title contenders, dropped to 6-2.
Jaypee Belencion chalked up 14 points, while Inigo posted 12 points on top of 8 assists for the Voyagers.
In a sub-par performance, only RJ Ramirez, Matthew Aquino and Michael Canete were able to tally twin digits with 15, 13 and 11, respectively, for the Strikers.
Former pros Paolo Javelona and Mark Tallo and former National University Bulldog John Paul Cauilan powered Bacolod, which clawed its way back from a 45-58 hole to halt a 3-game slide and climb to 3-5.
Javelona pumped in a game-high 27 points, plus 6 rebounds, 5 assists and 4 steals; Cauilan chipped in 17 points and 6 rebounds, while Tallo tallied 9 points, 9 rebounds and 12 assists.
Zamboanga, which saw its three-game win run broken, fell to an even 4-4 slate.
Jopher Custodio also contributed to Bacolod’s cause with a triple that shoved it ahead, 83-78, time down to 55 seconds.
The Caloocan Supremos trounced the Rizal Xentro Mall Golden Coolers, 92-78, in the opener to tally their second straight win and rose to 3-5.
With crack guards Thomas Torres and Almond Vosotros wreaking havoc, the Supremos pulled away at 29-10 and were never threatened.
The Golden Coolers absorbed their fifth straight loss for a 1-6 card despite the 28-point effort of Kelvin Gregorio.