MANILA – Bacolod City of Smiles suffered its third consecutive defeat in the 2023 Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball Leaguer after being beaten by Pampanga Giant Lanterns, 103-86, on Thursday night at the Bataan People’s Center in Orani, Bataan.
The defeat dropped the Bacolod City-based squad to 10-17 win-loss slate, dampening their hopes of reaching the division quarterfinals with just one game remaining in their schedule.
The Vincee Salvador-mentored Bacolodnons were also shorthanded heading into the all-important game as Valandre Chauca was unavailable along with Jaymarn Joshua Pabilona.
However, Bacolod City still managed to keep in step with the league-leading Pampanga crew as they were just down 64-70 after a three-pointer by Regie Boy Basibas late in the third quarter.
Justine Baltazar and Encho Serrano, however, stepped up for the Giant Lanterns as they widened the lead to 75-64 but consecutive hits from Christopher Menguez and Ryussei Koga pulled Bacolod City to within 70-80 with six minutes in the game.
Pampanga tried to pull away after a three-point play by Baltazar and a layup by Raymond Binuya but a three-pointer by Koga followed by two free throws by Mark Sarangay cut the deficit to 75-85 for Bacolod City.
The Giant Lanterns went for the finishing blow as a three-pointer by Michael John Garcia followed by inside connections from Baltazar and Serrano gave them a 99-81 lead with over two minutes left.
Serrano top-scored for the Giant Lanterns with 29 points, including five three-point conversions, to go with nine assists, four rebounds and a steal to be hailed as the Player of the Game.
Baltazar, meanwhile, finished with double-double 19 points and 14 rebounds, Garcia contributed 14 markers, as John Bryle Bahio ended with 12 points and 14 rebounds as they improved to 24-2.
Koga led the way for Bacolod City with 13 points, Domark Matillano contributed 12 markers, while Alfred Sedillo and Menguez chipped in 11 and 10 points, respectively, in the loss./PN
PAMPANGA 103 – Serrano 29, Baltazar 19, Garcia 14, Bahio 12, Clemente 7, Tolentino 6, Concepcion 5, Binuya 4, Apolonio 3, Sangalang 2, De Leon 2.
BACOLOD 86 – Koga 13, Matillano 12, Sedillo 11, Menguez 10, Alves 9, Alano 7, Cantimbuhan 6, Sarangay 6, Basibas 5, Stevens 4, Magbanua 3.
Quarterscores: 24-20, 51-43, 72-64, 103-86.