General Santos making its presence felt in MPBL; Navotas snaps home game skid with win over Basilan

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LOOKS like the Gen San Warriors are poised to clinch a top four berth — and beyond — in the MPBL Datu Cup.

On Wednesday night, the Golden State College-backed Warriors added the Zamboanga Rapidos-Family’s Brand Sardines to their list of victims after their 78-69 triumph at the Navotas Sports Complex.

It was the fourth straight win by the Warriors, who improved their win-loss record to 11-9, just half a game behind of third placer and inaugural staging champion Batangas City Athletics in the southern division of this tournament put up by Senator Manny Pacquiao with PBA legend and former MVP Kenneth Duremdes as commissioner.

Right from the get-go, the Warriors went business as usual, racing to a 17-2 lead before the Rapidos chopped down that lead with a big scoring binge in the second period to trail by only six, 35-29, at the half.

Joren Morada finished with 16 points while John Orbeta scored 12 of his 15 points in the third period to keep the Rapidos at bay. Delmar Mahaling and Chris Masaglang added 11 points apiece for the Warriors.

The Warriors made conscious effort scoring inside the shaded lane. The team outscored its rival, 30-14. The Warriors also had 22 second chance points compared to only eight for the Rapidos.

Navotas finally broke a long losing spell at home by finally winning in front of its local folks. The Clutch defeated the Basilan Steel, 102-97.

Jai Reyes led the way with 21 points, but it was the do-it-all effort of Marlon Gomez, who came away with another double-double performance that stabilized control on the Clutch. The undersized but hardworking frontliner finished with 16 points and 13 rebounds while helping Navotas in gaining its 10th win in 21 games and solidified its hold of the sixth spot in the northern division.

More importantly, the victory came so sweet for Navotas, which picked up its first ever home win in its two-season franchise history.

“I think this victory at home means a lot, particularly to the people of Navotas. Had we lost another home game, we don’t know what’s going to happen next. Maybe, we will not be able to get the strong support that we usually get from them,” said Navotas coach Gabby Severino. — Rey Joble