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MPBL: Manila holds off Bataan

Aris Dionisio of the Manila Stars tries to block a shot by Gary David of Bataan (photo by Peter Paul Baltazar)

Aris Dionisio of the Manila Stars tries to block a shot by Gary David of Bataan (photo by Peter Paul Baltazar)

by Jerome Lagunzad

Games Tomorrow (Baliwag Star Arena)
7 p.m. – Makati vs Basilan
9 p.m. – Bulacan vs Rizal

Aris Dionisio stepped out of the shadows of his more heralded teammates as host Manila turned back Bataan, 89-82, Saturday in the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League Anta Datu Cup at the San Andres Gym.

The 6-foot-4 Dionisio provided the spark off the bench with a team-high 21 points, capped by a game-clinching layup for an 87-82 lead with 16 seconds left.

“We played the right way,” said Manila coach Philip Cezar. “They (Risers) have a lot of shooters so we really needed to defend the perimeter better. We were outrebounded all game long but our offensive players rose to the challenge.”

Adrian Celada and former pro Reil Cervantes combined for 33 points, spiked by six triples, while former PBA star Roger Yap proved he still has it at 40 years old, tallying a game-high 11 assists on top of seven points, four steals and three rebounds for the Stars.

Earlier, former Arellano star Levi Hernandez and ex-Letran stalwart Rey Publico powered Navotas to an 83-75 win over newcomer Pasay.

Hernandez, a former TNT practice player, sizzled with a game-best of 26 points while Publico came up a rebound shy of a double-double with 22 points as the Clutch recovered from an early 12-point deficit.

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