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Bulacan, Quezon City prevail in MPBL


Games Today (Caloocan Sports Complex)
7 p.m. — Parañaque vs Muntinlupa
9 p.m. — Valenzuela vs Caloocan

Title favorites Bulacan and Quezon City lived up to their billing and handled their respective rivals with ease to gain a share of the early lead in the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League Anta Rajah Cup at the Bulacan Capitol gym Tuesday night.

The Bulacan Kuyas, the pre-season champions, eked out a 17-0 run bridging the third quarter to pull away from the visiting Imus Bandera en route to their 93-79 victory.

John Gonzales finished with 26 points while former San Beda stalwart Jay-R Taganas banged in a double-double of 13 points and 11 rebounds for host Bulacan, which turned a 31-33 deficit into a 15-point edge midway in the third and hardly gave Imus any chance to recover.

Former pro league star Marlou Aquino came off the bench and also made his presence felt for the Kuyas by tallying four points – all from the charity stripe – while adding one rebound and an assist in eight minutes.

Not to be outdone were the QC Capitals, who displayed a fluid attack and a sustained defensive pressure in blasting the Gary David-bannered Bataan Defenders, 87-69.

Former Mapua standout Andoy Estrella posted the league’s first triple-double performance by finishing with 11 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists for Quezon City, which led by as many as 19 points in the first half and did enough to hold off Bataan’s rally in the crunch.

The 6-foot-2 David, a four-time PBA scoring champion, overcame a poor shooting performance as he finished with 21 points, nine of them coming in the third period where he teamed up with James Castro in the Defenders’ fightback.

However, the Capitals had enough weapons to cool it off, with Jay Collado, former La Salle big man PJ Barua and Estrella’s fellow Cardinal Hesed Gabo hitting key buckets down the stretch.

Action continues tonight at the Caloocan Sports Complex, with the Parañaque Patriots out to sustain their winning form against the Muntinlupa Cagers at 7 p.m.

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