MPBL: Bataan, Manila set up Final Four showdown

After months of waiting, powerhouse teams Bataan and Manila set up their Final Four showdown for the semifinal round of the northern division of the MPBL Datu Cup.

This happened after the Risers and the Stars closed out their series against their respective quarterfinals rivals late Wednesday night at the San Andres Gym in Manila.

Bataan dumped Caloocan, 83-71, to complete the sweep as Richard Escoto had a solid game for the Zetapro-backed Risers. The pride of Far Eastern University finished with 17 points and nine rebounds to lead the Risers charge.

Also making key contributions were Gab Dagangon contributed 15 markers, including three triples, while Gary David and Alfred Batino each had 13 markers for the Risers.

Bataan will face Manila, a 92-83 winner over Bulacan, in the other game.

With three players ending up with a double-double performance, the Robust Energy Capsule-backed Stars were able to sweep the Mighty Sports-supported Kuyas, who bowed out of the quarterfinals for the second straight season.

Aris Dionisio tallied 17 points and 12 rebounds, ex-pro Marvin Hayes had 16 markers on top of 10 boards while promising frontliner Mark Cruz had 12 points and 10 rebounds as the Stars big men outplayed their counterparts.

Manila’s dominant frontline allowed the Stars to win the rebounding department, 53-44. The Stars also got 56 points from inside the shaded lane compared to only 44 for Bulacan.

Chris Bitoon led all scorers for Manila with 20 points, but got ample support from the rest of the team members who are equally determined in steering the powerhouse squad to a Final Four stint in the tough northern division.