Navotas and Bataan played in playoff mode on Thursday night as they ripped their respective rivals in the MPBL Datu Cup at the Navotas Sports Complex.
The Clutch ran roughshod over the Quezon City Capitals, 120-115, on a record-setting night and served notice of its readiness for the quarterfinal round. They hit 16 triples on their way to recording the most points scored by any team in the young two-season history of the league.
Jai Reyes knocked in 32 points to lead the Clutch’s torrid shooting. The 16 three-point shots made matched the previous record set by Batangas City.
But there’s a better reason for Navotas to celebrate as the team notched the sixth spot of the tough northern division of this tournament put up by Senator Manny Pacquiao with PBA legend and former MVP Kenneth Duremdes serving as commissioner.
Navotas will play San Juan in the playoffs which starts next week.
Regardless of the outcome of their game – the remaining 1:34 of their match against the Muntinlupa Cagers, which will be played on Saturday – the Clutch, who now carry a 12-12 card, are already assured of the No. 6 spot of this event also supported by LGR, the official outfitter of the MPBL.
Top seed Bataan showed no signs of slowing down as it brought down lowly Pasig, 105-87, in the other game.
The Risers ended their elimination round campaign with a tournament best 23-2 card. It was a quick turnaround from their previous finish where they ended up at eighth place and were ushered out in the first round of the playoffs by Batangas City.
Pasig, owner of the tournament’s worst record, ended with a 4-21 card.
Gab Dagangon finished with 26 points on a steady 10-of-12 shooting to pace the Risers, who are going to face the Caloocan Supremos next week.
“I think we’re ready,” said Bataan cpoach Jojo Lastimosa. “We’ve been ready as early as last week.”