MPBL: San Juan cruises to another easy win; Valenzuela survives a close one

Roy Luarca

Posted at Jun 30 2018 10:53 PM

Mac Cardona was one of several San Juan Knights players who scored in double digits against the Bulacan Knights on Saturday night. Courtesy of MPBL Facebook

The San Juan Knights used relentless full court pressure to rout the Bulacan Kuyas, 94-76, in the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League Datu Cup on Saturday.

It was the second straight easy win by the Knights, who overpowered the Pampanga Lanterns, 93-70, on June 20.

Undefeated in 2 games, San Juan shares top spot with the Navotas Clutch in the North division.

Starting strong at Valenzuela Astrodome, the Knights, backed by Go for Gold, took the fight out of the hapless Kuyas, in the first half when they went up 61-31 after leading by as many as 31 points, 56-25.

The Kuyas, supported by Mighty Sports of Caesar Angelo Wongchuking Jr., could only come within 86-72 before losing and leveling its record to 1-1.

With the outcome beyond doubt, Knights coach Randy Alcantara had the liberty to shuffle all his 15 players, only 3 of whom did not score.

“It’s a tribute both to our offense and defense. It started on our defense, and we make the conscious effort in giving extra passes,” said Alcantara. “Doon natutuwa ‘yong magkakakampi. Ini-enjoy nila ‘yong game, at the same time we’re playing defense.”

Aaron Jeruta top-scored for the Knights with 18 points, followed by Carlos Isit with 12, Ryan Ayon Ayon 11, and John Wilson and Mac Cardona 10 each.

The Kuyas drew 21 points from Jason Melano and 12 each from James Martinez and JR Taganas.

In the second game, the Valenzuela Classic banked on their outside shooting to withstand the Basilan Steel’s final assault and prevail, 96-94.

The Classic canned 5 triples in the last 6 minutes, enabling them to repel the Steel, who erased an 11-point deficit to tie the game for the last time at 88, and level their slate at 1-1.

Basilan, which threatened for the last time at 95-94, on a triple by Mark Anthony Acosta with 17 seconds to go, dropped to 0-2.

Rocky Acidre’s back-to-back triples followed by a jumper turned out to be pivotal for the Classic, 93-89, entering the last minute.

(For more sports coverage, visit the ABS-CBN Sports website.)