MPBL: Giant Lanterns, Shoemasters win

The Bacoor Strikers are not content on just winning games. They are bent on capturing the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League (MPBL) Lakan Season crown.

Already formidable, the Strikers further bolstered their roster with Fil-foreign player Nick Demusis and showed glimpses of what they can do with a 90-80 victory over Nueva Ecija Forest Lake on Tuesday (September 24) in the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League’s first game at Marikina Sports Complex.

The 6-foot-4 Demusis, who formerly saw action in the Thailand Basketball Super League, scored a team-high 15 points, grabbed 7 rebounds and issued 3 assists as the Strikers raised their record to 13-3 in the South division of the 31-team field.

Gab Banal, MVP of the MPBL Datu Cup, did his share for the Strikers with 13 points, 6 assists and 4 rebounds while Michael Mabulac was solid with 13 points, 10 rebounds and 4 assists. Mark Montuano joined the double-figure scorers with 10.

The Pampanga Giant Lanterns shifted to high gear in the fourth quarter to rout Imus Khaleb Shawarma, 99-82, in the second game.

Led by Mark Cruz and Michael Juico who tallied 20 points each, the Giant Lanterns climbed to 10-5 while pulling down the Bandera to 3-11.

Cruz also dished off 12 assists, snared 6 rebounds and made 2 steals, while Juico snagged 9 rebounds. Former pro Dexter Maiquez added 13 points and 7 rebounds for the Giant Lanterns of Coach Bong Ramos.

Barely ahead, 63-61, after three quarters, the Giant Lanterns waxed hot in the final quarter with 36 points, including 8 each from Cruz and Maiquez.

The Marikina Shoemasters bested the Muntinlupa Cagers, 95-85, in the nightcap for their first back-to-back victory this conference and improve to 3-12 in the North division.

Resident gunner Yves Sazon topscored for the Shoemasters with 21, and got ample support from veterans Jojo Duncil and Jojo Duncil and new acquisitions Carlo De Chavez and Ronald Roy.

Duncil fired 17 points, Salvador contributed 10 points and 16 rebounds, De Chavez added 13 points and Rubi 12 points for Marikina, which pulled down Muntinlupa to 3-13 in the South division.

The MPBL goes to Caloocan Sports Complex