Crucial MPBL Datu Cup matches in store in Valenzuela

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BATAAN Risers tries to hold on to the solo lead in the MPBL Datu Cup even as host team Valenzuela hopes to catch the last bus to the quarterfinal round when it shoots for a win in the main game of Tuesday’s double header at the Valenzuela Astrodome.

The Risers of coach Jojo Lastimosa are already assured of a top four berth, but getting the No. 1 spot is what the future PBA Hall of Famer wants to secure.

Backed by Zetapro, the Risers will take on the Mandaluyong El Tigre in the first game at 7 p.m. as the pacesetting squad looks to gain more cushion over its pursuers. With a 19-2 win-loss record, Bataan is not far behind second placer Manila (19-4) and streaking Makati (18-4).

The Risers will be facing an El Tigre team that need a win to survive.

With an 8-13 card, Mandaluyong is in ninth spot and a win can put the team back in strong contention for a top eight berth.

Other teams which are in the mix are Valenzuela and Bulacan, which will square off in the main game at 9 p.m.

Bulacan is already out of the running for a top four berth and won’t enjoy home court advantage even if it has already secured a playoff spot. But the Mighty Sports-backed Kuyas don’t want to fall deeper in the tough northern division where they will be forced to play against the top teams.

The Kuyas are carrying a 13-9 win-loss slate.

Survival will be the name of the game for the Classic, who have a lot of catching up to do and need to win their remaining three games, including this one against the Kuyas. They are currently at the 11th spot in the tough northern division holding an 8-14 mark. — Rey Joble