BATANGAS and Makati cities continued to roll in the MPBL Datu Cup after coming up with similar victories over their respective rivals at the Marist School Gymnasium Monday night.
The inaugural staging champion Athletics of Batangas City ran roughshod over host team Marikina Shoemasters, 62-52, to extend their winning streak to five. The Tanduay-backed quintet improved its record to a 9-6 win-loss record for solo third spot in the southern division of the fastest growing regional amateur basketball league in the country put up by Senator Manny Pacquiao with PBA legend Kenneth Duremdes serving as commissioner.
Moncrief Rogado, a former reserve player of the San Miguel Beermen in the PBA, played one of his finest games for the Athletics as he finished with 19 points. He hit five-of-seven treys to make up for the subpar games of some of the team’s top guns.
Jhaymo Eguilos had a double-double performance of 11 points and 10 rebounds while battling foul troubles.
Batangas also dealt the Shoemasters their sixth straight loss. They are just one of the few teams that has yet to win a game in their home court. Following the latest loss, Marikina dropped into a tie for 11th to 12th places with the Basilan Steel as they are now both carrying 4-9 win-loss records.
The Athletics are now slowly but surely flexing their muscles and getting back into championship form, but head coach Mac Tan refused to get carried away.
“It’s still a long way to go. I don’t know how far this streak can go, but the important thing right now is the learning process we digest every game,” added Tan.
Earlier, Makati survived erstwhile leader but now struggling Muntinlupa, 52-50, as the Super Crunch also extended their winning streak to four games.
Makati’s latest win improved its record to 10-4 in the tough northern division. It also gave Davao Occidental a free ride to the top following its victory over Muntinlupa, now in second spot in the southern division with a 9-3 record.
Once the hottest team in the tournament, Muntinlupa has now lost three of its last five games under head coach Aldin Ayo, who took over the coaching chores of the Angelis Resort-backed Cagers from Aldrin Morante.
Morante was the head coach of Muntinlupa when the team made a sizzling 8-0 run. He was also responsible in steering the squad to a finals stint in the inaugural season. — Rey Joble