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    Gabby Espinas solid in MPBL debut as Manila Stars hold off Marikina

    Jul 31, 2019

    Manila stretched its win streak to five games after an emphatic 107-95 victory over Marikina on Wednesday night in the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League (MPBL) Lakan Cup at the Angeles University Foundation in Pampanga.

    Manila flexed its muscles in the fourth quarter, scoring 27 points while limiting the Shoemasters to 10 points in the frame's first eight minutes to avert an upset.

    Carlo Lastimosa led the Stars with 22 points, four rebounds and three assists while Chris Bitoon chipped in 11 markers, seven rebounds, and eight assists.

    Former PBA player Gabby Espinas had a solid MPBL debut with seven points, 10 boards, six assists, two steals and two blocks for Manila, which had 36 assists compared to the 25 of Marikina.

    Manila remained at second place in the North division with a 7-1 win-loss card while Marikina has yet to win in seven games.

    Marikina showed some fight in the first frame, leading 24-19. But the Frontrow-backed Stars turned the tables in the second quarter, outscoring the Shoemasters, 31-20, to take the lead at the break, 50-44.

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    Yves Sazon paced the Shoemasters with 24 points and six rebounds. - Justin Valencia

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