By Jerome Lagunzad
Games Tomorrow (Batangas City Coliseum)
7 p.m. – Bataan vs Muntinlupa
9 p.m. – Caloocan vs Batangas City
Resurgent Bulacan turned up the heat down the stretch and foiled Valenzuela, 92-83, on Saturday night and force a three-way tie for second spot in the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League Anta Rajah Cup at the Olivarez Sports Center.
Burly JR Taganas showed the way on the offensive end with a career-high 19 points on top of eight rebounds while Stephen Siruma tallied 17 points as they sparked the Kuyas’ 34-point explosion in the final period.
Bulacan, finally playing true to its billing as the pre-season champion, stretched the league’s hottest winning streak to four and improved to 5-3 overall, joining Valenzuela and idle Quezon City at second in the process.
“Siguro yung mga bata, nasanay nang manalo,” said Kuyas coach Chris Baluyot. “Napakahirap kapag sunod-sunod ‘yung talo. ‘Yung winning mentality nila noong preseason, unti-unti nang naibabalik.”
Jeff Javillonar led all scorers with 23 points on top of six rebounds and three assists while RJ Argamino added 15 points off the bench for the Classic, who led by as many as 11 points early on but ran out of steam in the crunch.
In the nightcap, host Parañaque finally ended its jinx right on its home floor as the Patriots held off the visiting Imus Bandera and clinched a playoff berth.
Former pros Harold Arboleda and Juneric Baloria took turns in delivering the goods for the Patriots down the stretch, with the former tallying 12 points and 15 rebounds and the latter nailing the go-ahead triple with 1:42 remaining.
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