By Jerome Lagunzad
(Navotas Sports Complex)
7 p.m. – Batangas City vs Muntinlupa
9 p.m. – Bataan vs Navotas
Two of the league’s hottest teams collide tonight as powerhouse Batangas City takes on dangerous Muntinlupa in the resumption of the 2018 Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League Anta Rajah Cup action at the Navotas Sports Complex.
Tip off is at 7 p.m., with the pacesetting Athletics out to stretch their flawless start to six matches and the Cagers determined to continue their own winning streak which is at four games so far.
Batangas City, built around top amateur standouts and several collegiate aces, remains as the odds-on favorite. But coach Mac Tan isn’t taking the veteran-laden Muntinlupa crew lightly.
“This one is the toughest win for us and we expect tougher games ahead,” he said after Batangas survived Parañaque 87-79 in overtime over the weekend. “Muntinlupa is a different team, far from the one that lost its opening game.”
Clashing in the nightcap at 9 p.m. are the host Navotas Clutch and the visiting Bataan Defenders, both eager to keep themselves in contention for playoff spots.
Navotas currently in a tie with idle Valenzuela at fourth spot with similar 3-2 marks, is hoping to pick up from where it left off following a morale-boosting 103-87 win over erstwhile streaking Quezon City that snapped its two-game losing skid.
It’s easier said than done, however, since the Clutch will have to deal with a rejuvenated Defenders side which is coming off a breakthrough 91-87 win over fellow struggler Imus Bandera exactly a week ago.
Unheralded Al Carlos, fresh from a career-best 22-point explosion the last time out, is expected to ease some of the scoring load off the shoulders of former pro star Gary David, who’s been the primary source of Bataan’s offense.
A lion’s share of the spotlight, however, is expected to fall on the opener, with the Athletics out to restore their invincibility behind the presence of former pros Val Acuña, Lester Alvarez and Jhaymo Eguilos along with Letran ace forward Bong Quinto and former Jose Rizal University star Teytey Teodoro.
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