San Juan extended its winning run while Bacoor recovered its potent form in the OKBet-MPBL (Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League) Fifth Season at the FilOil Flying V Center in San Juan on Monday.
The new-look San Juan Knights thwarted the veteran-laden Caloocan Batang Kankaloo, 76-68, and climbed to 3-0 in the single round-robin elimination round of the 29-team tournament.
Smarting from a home loss to Caloocan on April 17, the Bacoor Strikers routed the listless Quezon City Gaz N Go, 93-58, and rose to 5-1, within range of idle pacesetters Nueva Ecija and Quezon Province, both with 6-0 cards.
Powered by former San Beda star James Kwekuteye and former St. Benilde stalwart Jimboy Pasturan, Bacoor poured on the heat in the second half to lead by as big as 90-55 in the coast-to-coast victory.
Kwekuteye ended up with 21 points, 4 rebounds, 3 steals and 2 assists while Pasturan finished with 11 points, 5 rebounds and 4 assists for Coach Alex Angeles, who had the luxury of shuffling 14 players, all of whom scored.
Quezon City tumbled to its sixth straight defeat after an initial victory as none of its players managed to post twin digits.
San Juan leaned on Michael Calisaan and Orlan Wamar to erase a 41-48 deficit and build a 64-54 lead entering the last five minutes.
Calisaan fired 20 points, including 12 in the third quarter, and grabbed 10 rebounds, while Wamar added 15 points, 9 rebounds and 5 assists for the Knights, the MPBL Datu Cup champions who are thriving without many of their former stars.
Nikko Panganiban also delivered for Sen. Jinggoy Estrada, who has assumed the head coaching chores for San Juan, with 11 points and 6 rebounds.
Caloocan dropped to 3-2 despite the 18-point, 8-rebound effort of Gabby Espinas.
Oriental Mindoro crawled out of an 18-point hole in the third quarter to stun Sarangani, 107-97, in the opener and tally its first victory after dropping six straight games.
Agem Miranda poured 17 of his night-high 33 points while Sherwin Concepcion fired 15 of his 26 in that span to push the Disiplinados ahead, 81-78, for good.
The 6-foot-1 Miranda, former Jose Rizal University star, posted a triple-double with 13 assists and 11 rebounds, while the 6-foot-2 Concepcion, former gunner of the University of Santo Tomas, submitted a double-double with 10 rebounds.
The MPBL goes to the Cuneta Astrodome on Tuesday with a triple-bill pitting Marikina against GenSan at 4 p.m., Zamboanga against Batangas at 6 p.m. and Laguna against Pasay at 8 p.m.
Meanwhile, Avenelle John Alecaide won a Suzuki Avenis after making his second halfcourt attempt during the halftime break of the San Juan-Caloocan encounter. Alecaide, from Barangay Claro in Quezon City, became the third winner of a motorcycle being staked in the Suzuki Halfcourt Shot Challenge.