Preseason favorites Bataan and Mandaluyong carved out separate hard-earned wins on a rainy Wednesday night to continue their roll in the MPBL Datu Cup at the People’s Center in Balanga, Bataan.
The Risers held off a gutsy Gen San Warriors side before pulling off a 62-58 win.
No other player except Pamboy Raymundo finished in double figures for the Risers as the ex-pro scored 12 points, but the contribution of the other members of the team were enough to carry the squad to its third straight win.
The Zetapro-backed Bataan has forged a tie for second spot in the northern division with the Dataland-supported Mandaluyong El Tigre eked out a similar hard-fought victory over the Navotas Clutch, 59-55, in another low-scoring game.
Ray Parks led the El Tigre’s production with 19 points, including a tough basket against a phalanx of Clutch defenders in the last 37 seconds of the game that gave his team a 57-55 lead.
The son of seven-time Best Import and PBA Hall of Famer Bobby Parks completed his game-long brilliance with a big stop at the other end, forcing Levy Hernandez to lose the basketball.
That set up Jonathan Boholano, who was able to get the loose ball and pick up a foul in the process for two free throws. The cool and calculating guard sank both charities for the marginal tally.
Navotas, which won its first two games this season under new head coach Ritchie Ticzon, suddenly lost back-to-back games. The 55-point production was the worst output by the franchise ever.
Despite winning its third straight game, Mandaluyong coach Mac Cuan was far from satisfied.
“It was an ugly win for us,” added Cuan. “We turned the ball over a lot of times and we had lapses on defense.”