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Bataan shocks Batangas five

Vince Tolentino rose to the challenge by coming through with clutch plays on both ends.

Vince Tolentino rose to the challenge by coming through with clutch plays on both ends.

By Jerome Lagunzad

Games Tomorrow
(Valenzuela Astrodome)
6 p.m. – San Juan vs Bulacan
8 p.m. – Valenzuela vs Basilan

Host Bataan gave inaugural champion Batangas City a dose of its own medicine down the stretch for a breakthrough 81-67 victory in the 2018 Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League Anta Datu Cup at the packed Bataan People’s Center.

The Risers displayed steely nerves in a gut-wrenching finish, dropping a decisive 13-to-nothing run in the final 3:50 of play that enabled them to pull away from the suddenly sluggish Athletics much to the delight of a huge Wednesday night crowd.

Veteran guard Pamboy Raymundo tallied a team-high 13 points and six assists but it was Ateneo product Vince Tolentino who made key plays on both ends in the crunch to help Bataan bounce back from an 89-82 loss to Manila last June 17 and give Batangas City a strong reminder about its serious title aspirations.

“For me, I just want to play with this team. Whatever I can do on the court, whatever I can do to help, that’s what I’m willing to give,” said the 6-foot-4 Tolentino, who finished with a double-double of 12 points and 10 rebounds on top of five assists.

Multiple PBA scoring champion Gary David made his presence felt with 11 points and three rebounds while former Alab Pilipinas stalwart Robby Celiz did his fair share off the bench with 11 points, nine rebounds and six assists for the Risers, who are considered by many as a legit threat to the Athletics’ back-to-back bid.

Also emerging triumphant were the Navotas Clutch, who defeated Caloocan Supremos, 59-55, for their second straight victory and a hold of the solo lead in the North Division.

Former TNT KaTropa backup Levi Hernandez overcame an error-prone outing with 15 points, including a go-ahead triple in the final three minutes, while Ron Dennison highlighted his 12-point production with a pair of clutch buckets as the Clutch did enough to hold off the Supremos in a low scoring contest.