SAN JUAN and Caloocan pulled off contrasting wins in the MPBL Datu Cup and fortified their aspirations ahead of the playoff round.
In front of its hometown crowd, San Juan Knights easily disposed of depleted Quezon City Capitals, 68-50, at the Filoil Flying V Arena.
The Knights took advantage on the absence of four key players from the Capitals on their way to take their 18th win in 23 games and stayed at the No. 4 spot of the standings in the tough northern division.
Quezon City played without guards Hesed Gabo and Andoy Estrella and didn’t field in center Jeff Morillo while sparingly utilized big man Jay Collado.
Gabo, the team’s starting point guard, was not in the game and team owner Onyx Crisologo told BusinessWorld that he has prior commitments in Japan. Estrella, on the other hand, is sidelined by a hamstring injury.
Morillo is also nursing an injury as his shoulder has been bothering him while Collado was battling flu.
Collado, one of the leading rebounders in the league, played only six minutes and ended up scoreless.
Without the usual production of these four key players, the Black Mamba-supported Capitals had a lousy output. Their free throw shooting was an eye sore as they hit only 24% from the line on eight-of-33.
Quezon City absorbed its 11th loss in 21 games, but remained in sixth spot of the northern division.
In the first game, Caloocan Supremos kept its flickering playoff hopes alive following its 76-62 win over Laguna Heroes.
By winning over the Heroes, the Supremos notched their 10th win in 24 games and stayed at No. 9 spot. With only one game left, they need to wrap up their elimination round campaign with a win and hope that Quezon City, Navotas, and Pampanga won’t exceed 10 wins.
Almond Vosotros finished with 23 points, eight rebounds and five assists while Damian Lasco ended up with a career-high 21 markers for the Supremos.
Following its latest loss, Laguna dropped to 10-14 to stay at ninth spot of the southern division of this tournament. — Rey Joble