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‘Munti’ shocks Parks, ‘Manda’ in MPBL opener

By Jerome Lagunzad

Games Today
(Alonte Sports Arena)
5:30 p.m. – Davao Occidental vs Imus
7:30 p.m. – Laguna vs Zamboanga

Steady guard Allan Mangahas stole the spotlight from debuting star Ray Parks down the stretch as Muntinlupa turned back newcomer Mandaluyong, 86-74, on Tuesday night for an auspicious start in the 2018 Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League Anta Datu Cup at the Smart-Coliseum.

The 5-foot-11 Mangahas collected 16 points, six rebounds and five assists while delivering the killer blows down the stretch to help the Cagers start their road to redemption in the best way possible at the expense of the foul-plagued Parks and the cold-shooting El Tigre.

Former pro Chito Jaime added 17 points while undersized big man Felix Apreku tallied 10 points and 16 rebounds for the Cagers, last season’s bridesmaid finishers who turned things around in the second period and kept the El Tigre at bay in the second half.

The 6-foot-4 Parks had an all-around performance of 21 points, 10 rebounds and four assists but committed six turnovers and was saddled by foul trouble, picking up four offensive fouls, the last of them off a loose ball foul against Cagers’ Jamil Ortuoste with 51 seconds to play in the third period and the El Tigre down by 67-58.

“It’s the first time I’ve seen in my life, four offensive fouls,” lamented the son of late PBA great import Bobby Sr., the central figure in the league’s controversial “one Fil-foreign per team” policy.

“I attended the orientation (so) I know what a foul is. I know what an offensive foul is,” Parks continued. “I know that they don’t want me here. At the end of the day, this is a stepping stone for me. I’ll be honest, I’m not gonna be here long.”

Also emerging triumphant in the blockbuster opening day billing that ended in the wee hours of Wednesday were the Marikina Shoemasters, who proved too strong for fellow expansion team Gen. Santos City Warriors, 88-81.

Sweet-shooting guard Yves Sazon shot the lights out with a career-high of 33 points, spiked by six triples, and hauled down 10 rebounds while former pro Erwin Sta. Maria added 18 points, including crucial buckets in the final period for Marikina.

Actor and model Gerald Anderson showed up but didn’t suit up for the Shoemasters since he’s been recuperating from a right hamstring injury, preventing him from adding star power to the opening day graced by league founder, Senator Manny Pacquiao, plus several showbiz personalities and politicians.