Bataan and Nueva Ecija cruised past their rivals while newcomer Quezon Province survived its own war on Saturday as they shared the top spot in the OKBet-MPBL (Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League) Fifth Season at the Bataan Peoples Center in Balanga.
The Bataan Risers-Camaya Coast pounded the Bicol Volcanoes into submission, 101-58, while the Nueva Ecija Rice Vanguards turned hot in the fourth quarter and routed the Bacolod City of Smiles, 90-72, for their second straight win in the 29-team league.
The Quezon Huskers played catchup most of the way before subduing the Mindoro Disiplinados, 85-80, in the opener and notching the same card.
Powered by the prolific duo of Yves Sazon and James Castro, the Risers sealed the outcome, 92-46, early in the fourth quarter before Bataan coach Ricky Dandan let his second stringers finish the demolition job.
Sazon, an acknowledged gunner since his stint with the Marikina Shoemasters, fired 20 points, including four triples, grabbed 3 rebounds, issued 2 assists and had 1 steal to earn best player honors. Castro, Bataan’s perennial go-to-guy, added 14 points and 2 steals as the Risers bettered their performance in a 70-61 victory over Rizal Province in the MPBL inaugurals on March 11.