SENATOR Joel Villanueva came up with an all-around performance as the Senate Advocates opened their title defense in style by drubbing the NLEX Road Movers, 93-74, at the start of the 2nd Makabansa Basketball League at Meralco Gym.
Stepping up in the absence of fellow senators Manny Pacquiao and Sonny Angara, Villanueva tallied 17 points, four rebounds, eight assists and three steals as the Advocates zoomed to the early lead in Bracket C.
The Advocates’ strong start spoiled a 30-point effort from Ernest Reyes of the Road Movers.
In other Bracket C matches, Office of the President Kamaos leaned on Maximo Altarez’s 26 points to overcome the MMDA D Enforcers, 69-62, while the Department of Energy Energizers enjoyed a walkover win over the Department of Interior and Local Government.
Meralco survived a gritty stand by Justice League for a 101-96 win in Bracket A with Mark Fampulme leading the way for the Linemen with 27 points, 12 rebounds and six assists.
Executive Oscar “Jang” Moreno also had a solid game of 15 points and seven assists for the Linemen.
Over at the Pasig Sports Center, PLDT Digital launched its campaign in style with an emphatic 115-60 win over PSA Pakitang Gilas. while the Office of the Solicitor General Patriots trounced the Department of Justic Avengers.
PLDT executive Michael Ymasa notched 17 points, eight rebounds and seven assists in a no-relief effort, while last season’s Mythical Five member Anjelo Cordero finished with 16 on 8-of-9 shooting against an undermanned PSA team.
Ram Labastida led the way for the Patriots with 14 points and eight boards.
The other Bracket B match saw the Department of Environment and Natural Resources Warriors hold off the Philippine Natuonal Police Peacekeepers, 86-83, with Ralph John Lansang holding the fort with 18 points and 13 rebounds.
Smart Dream Team joined Meralco at the top of Group A after whipping the Ombudsman Tanodbayan Watchdogs, 51-24, behind a 10-point, five-rebound effort from Edgardo San Gabriel.