Iloilo continued to gain traction in the OKBet-MPBL (Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League) Fifth Season with a 73-64 victory over Quezon Province on Saturday at the Quezon Convention Center in Lucena City.
Powered by Tony Ynot, CJ Catapusan, Joshua Flores and Neil Tolentino, the Iloilo United Royals posted their second straight win and fourth in their last five games to climb to 4-5 in the elimination round of the 29-team, two-division tournament.
Ynot, a former San Beda star, fired 18 points, while CJ Catapusan, a former UP Fighting Maroon, and Flores, formerly of National University added 13 each for the United Royals, who started their stint this year by dropping their first four games, but recovered under new coach Manu Inigo.
Neil Tolentino, a former Arellano Chief, contributed 11 points for the United Royals, who surged ahead, 32-19, but needed to weather the Huskers’ repeated rallies through Catapusan, who had a short stint with Quezon.
Quezon absorbed its second straight loss after opening with a seven-win run. The Huskers, missing the services of injured big man Will Gozum, got 17 points and 11 rebounds from Ximone Sandagon, followed by Alfrancis Tamsi with 11 points plus nine 9 rebounds.
In other games, Negros trounced Valenzuela XUR Homes Realty Inc., 94-75, while Makati OKBet stunned General Santos, 79-72.
With Mark Maloles notching 20 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 steals, and Jason Melano posting 17 points plus 6 rebounds, the Muscovados stormed to a 62-35 spread before cruising to their fourth win against five losses.
Valenzuela fell to 1-8 despite the 20-point, 6-rebound effort of Michael Angelo Macion and the 18-point, 4-rebound output of Stepan Steinl.
Trailing, 31-41, at halftime, the Makati Kings seized the lead after three quarters behind the guns of Rob Celiz, Allan Santos, Jerson Terso and Billy Robles, then quelled the Warriors’ final assault to climb to 5-3.
The Warriors got 25 points from Mark Cruz and 10 each from Christian Fajarito and Jervy Cruz but still tumbled to 6-2.
The MPBL goes to the Bacoor Strike Gym on Monday with Batangas and Rizal clashing at 4 p.m., Sarangani and Zamboanga battling at 6 p.m., and Imus and Bacoor colliding at 8 p.m.