ANGELES CITY — Pampanga got a big boost when one of its best products showed in its home game against Parañaque.
PBA star Jayson Castro, a native of Bacolor, led the Cabalens in rallying the Lanterns, who came away with an inspiring 82-79 triumph over the erstwhile unbeaten Parañaque Patriots-F2 Logistics in the MPBL Datu Cup at the Angeles University Foundation Arena here.
Earlier, Zamboanga outlasted Marikina, 87-80, as ex-pro Reed Juntilla led the way with 19 points and carried the Family’s Brand Sardines-backed Valientes to their second win in four games.
It was the third straight loss for the Shoemasters since winning their debut game on June 12. They’ve dropped their assignments to the Muntinlupa Cagers-Angelis Resort, the Imus Bandera-GLC Truck and Equipment and the latest one against the Valientes.
But the Valientes’ performance was overshadowed by the Lanterns’ inspiring showing at home.
Michael Juico scored the most points produced by any player in a game in the two-season history of the fastest growing regional amateur basketball league while Juneric Baloria put one over his former squad in a much-awaited game which featured two teams in a bitter tug-of-war on two key players during the off season.
Juico, plucked from GlobalPort in the PBA days before the start of the new MPBL season, poured in a personal-high 35 points, shattering the previous record of 33 set by Yves Sazon during opening night at the Araneta Coliseum.
Baloria, the star player who previously saw action for the Patriots last season but decided to transfer to the Lanterns, scattered 20 points and got the better end of his match up against his former squad.
Also playing solid on both ends of the court was Marlon Gomez, an undersized center, who finished with a double-double of 11 points and 12 boards.
Meanwhile, the MPBL has decided to cancel the scheduled double header on Tuesday, July 17, at the Muntinlupa Sports Complex due to the disturbing weather condition and floods in different areas in the metropolis.
The Cagers, who had yet to lose a game in three matches, are set to play the Pasig Pirates at 9 p.m. while the Imus Bandera were set to face the Quezon City Capitals-Black Mamba in the first game at 7 p.m.