Zamboanga and Marikina scored big wins on Thursday night to boost their respective chances in the MPBL Datu Cup at the Pasig Sports Center.
The Valientes, supported by Family’s Brand Sardines, picked up their second straight win by demolishing home squad Pasig Pirates, 92-78, and improving their win-loss record to 3-2.
Ex-pro Reed Juntilla continued to lead the way for the Valientes as he came away with 23 points and three steals while former Perpetual Help star Noy Javier chipped in 15 markers. Former Kia guard Jonathan Parreno added 11.
Das Esa, the Tausug cage hero, also stepped up big and produced 10 coming off the bench in what was easily his most productive game in the fastest growing regional amateur basketball league in the country.
But in notching their second straight win, the Valientes had a bigger reason to be happy as they dedicated the win to the fire victims of their neighboring province in Jolo, Sulu.
Earlier, Marikina paraded celebrity baller Gerald Anderson, who had a scoreless game, but the rest of the Shoemasters were able to pick up the slack on their way to a tough 78-74 win over the Quezon City Capitals-Black Mamba.
Former Mapua standout Erwin Sta. Maria had a double-double performance, finishing with 22 points and 12 rebounds to lead the Shoemasters in snapping a three-game losing skid in the tournament. He was backed up by Ronald Roy, who tallied 19, allowing Marikina to improve its standing to 2-3.
Quezon City fell to 1-3 card and lost Jay Collado, who had to be taken out due to a sprained ankle and didn’t return.
Action in the MPBL Datu Cup resumes on Saturday at the Navotas Sports Complex as Imus and Bataan square off in the first game at 7 p.m.. It will be followed by the main encounter between host team Navotas and Muntinlupa at 9 p.m.