HAROLD Arboleda played a perfect game Tuesday night, powering the Parañaque Patriots-F2 Logistics to an 81-73 win over the Cebu Sharks-Casino Ethyl Alcohol in the MPBL Datu Cup at the Olivarez College Gym.
Arboleda made all of his seven attempts from the field — five coming from the rainbow territory and two from the 2-point region.
But Arboleda’s brilliant all-around game wasn’t just limited on the offensive end where he finished with a career-high 26 points.
He also pulled down 11 rebounds top register his sixth career double-double performance while also dishing out six assists, powering the Efren Uy-backed Patriots to their second straight win in this fastest growing regional amateur basketball league put up by Senator Manny Pacquiao with PBA legend and former league MVP Kenneth Duremdes serving as commissioner.
“Siguro maganda yung laro ko dahil na rin sa magandnag work ethics na ipinakikita ng mga kakampi ko,” added Arboleda.
The Patriots played in front of their hometown crowd since winning Game 1 of their semifinals series against Muntinlupa last season.
But the team struggled in the early goings, trailing by as much as 15 points, 32-17, in the second quarter before its defense picked up, holding its rival without a field goal for a seven-minute stretch.
By half time, Parañaque was only down by one and dragged Cebu into a tight contest all the way to the final quarter. An 11-0 burst by the Patriots allowed them to pull away for good.
Earlier, Juneric Baloria and Daniel de Guzman returned to Parañaque, but this time, they guided their new team, Pampanga, to an 81-80 squeaker of Bataan in the first game.
The two former stalwarts of the Patriots were key figures in the Lanterns’ first win of the season.
Baloria, a deadshot shooting guard, knocked in 24 points while De Guzman, a hardworking forward, added eight markers and six boards.
Also playing a big role in Pampanga’s win was Marlon Gomez, the undersized frontliner, who grabbed 13 boards.
The Lanterns booked their first win despite missing the services of ex-PBA players Jimbo Aquino and Mike Juico.
Aquino suffered a pulled muscle in his leg while Juico served a one game suspension after getting ejected in his team’s first game of the season.