MANILA – Negros Pau Muscovados suffered a stinging 88-72 defeat to Bacoor City Strikers in the 2023 Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League on Wednesday night at the Wes Arena in Valenzuela City.
The second straight defeat was a huge blow for the playoff hopes of the Muscovados, as they dropped to a 10-17 win-loss record in the standings with just one game remaining in their schedule.
The Bonnie Garcia-mentored Muscovados were also shorthanded in the game as they played minus starters Jason Melano, Jun Manzo, Bernie Bregondo, and Jonathan Gantalao Jr.
Despite this, the Muscovados were able to keep the match close early on at 10-13 courtesy of Mark Maloles and Leo James Ingles, but back-to-back hits from Ilonggo Aaron Jeruta and Negrense Mark Yee gave the Strikers a 20-14 lead.
Bacoor’s lead widened to 31-21 after connections by Alwyn Alday and Mark Montuano, but consecutive baskets from Maloles pulled the Muscovados to within 33-34 before the Strikers increased it back to 45-38 at the half.
The Strikers continued their run in the third frame behind Joel Lee Yu and Kraniel Villoria as the lead increased to 58-40 before it went up to 69-49 after a basket by Negrense Jhan Nermal.
The Muscovados managed to cut the deficit to 54-69 to start the final quarter, but the Strikers had their response courtesy of back-to-back baskets by Chito Jaime for a 76-57 lead.
Yee, a native of Kabankalan City, Negros Occidental, was named the Player of the Game after finishing with 12 points, six rebounds, two assists, one steal, and a block for the Strikers.
Montuano top-scored for the Strikers with 13 points; Alday also contributed 12 markers and four rebounds; and John Derico Lopez ended with 10 points as they improved to a 22-4 win-loss record.
Maloles led the Muscovados with 26 points, including two three-point conversions; Robert Bartolo chipped in a double-double with 14 points and 10 rebounds; and Ingles contributed 11 points./PN
BACOOR 88 – Montuano 13, Alday 12, Yee 12, Lopez 10, Jeruta 6, Lee Yu 6, Jaime 5, Jamito 5, Ludovice 5, Villoria 4, Reyes 4, Adjei 2, Nermal 2, Galit 2, Pasturan 0.
NEGROS 72 – Maloles 26, Bartolo 14, Ingles 11, Dela Cruz 8, Dionson 7, Pastias 2, Longa 2, Mallari 2, Santillan 0.
Quarterscores: 20-14, 45-38, 69-49, 88-72.