By Jerome Lagunzad
(San Andres Gym)
7 p.m. – Pasay vs Navotas
9 p.m. – Manila vs Bataan
Prized recruit Bong Galanza wasted no time in making his presence felt as inaugural season champion Batangas City defeated Quezon City, 95-90, on Wednesday night to set its 2018 Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League Anta Datu Cup title bid in motion at the Caloocan Sports Complex
Galanza, a former Kia Picanto stalwart in the pros, led their early offensive assault with five triples in the opening period and finished with 28 points as the loaded Athletics passed their initial test despite missing the services of starters Val Acuña, Lester Alvarez and Jhaymo Eguilos.
“I have high expectation on Bong and he’s really working hard in practice,” said Batangas City coach Mac Tan of the University of the East product. “He is the first guy to come in at practice and he’s even the last to leave. He’s really a great pick up for us.”
Former Barangay Ginebra backup Dennice Villamor tallied 20 points and 12 rebounds while Paul Varilla collected 15 points, seven rebounds and five assists for the Athletics, who led by as many as 18 points but still needed to overcome some tense moments in the face of the Capitals’ late rally.
In the other match, host Caloocan saved its best for last as the Supremos spoiled the debut of the Pasig Pirates, 91-81.
Mar Villahermosa led three other starters in double figures with 18 points while Cedrick Labing-isa provided the spark off the bench with 13 points and seven assists to help the Supremos outplay the fading Pirates down the stretch.
Former Alaska center Bernzon Franco came up with a double-double of 15 points and 12 rebounds while ex-Letran star guard Boyet Bautista added 14 points for Pasig City, which took control early on and enjoyed a lead as high of 14 points, only to run out of steam in the final period.
In contrast, the Supremos got their acts together as they exploded for 28 points, with Villahermosa taking charge in their ferocious fightback where the Pirates suddenly went cold and wilted under immense pressure.