VALENZUELA City - The Makati Super Crunch cruised to victory while the Manila Stars and the Pasig Sta. Lucia Realtors squeaked past their opponents in the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League Lakan Season at the Valenzuela Astrodome.
Ahead by as many as 24 points, the Super Crunch had the luxury of yielding the last seven points to Valenzuela SPV Top Marketplace Classic but still handily won, 78-61.
The Realtors leaned on former pro Leo Najorda’s seven-point cluster to survive the a closing barrage of three-pointers by the Risers’ Jose Mari Presbitero, 64-63, in the opener.
Najorda, acquired from the Bataan Risers, wound up with 20 points while Josan Nimes contributed 15 points for the Realtors, who also got 6 points and 10 rebounds from Alfonso Gotladera.
The second game was also tight as the Stars dropped an eight-point salvo to negate the closing triple of Basilan Steel’s Hesed Gabo that pegged the final count at 65-66.
Cedric Ablaza showed the way for the Super Crunch’s 12th win against three losses with 17 points, followed by Jeckster Apinan and Juneric Baloria with 12 and 11, respectively.
The Super Crunch remained at third in the North division, trailing the Stars, who rose to 13-2 and stayed close to the pacesetting San Juan Knights (15-1).
Keeping their composure in the absence of top gunner Jeric Teng, who showed up in civilian attire, the Realtors climbed to 10-4 while pulling down the Risers to 7-8.
Though Basilan remained at the upper half of the standings at 9-7, it needs to avert a 2-game skid to bolster its playoffs bid.
The MPBL goes to Cuneta Astrodome on Thursday for another tripleheader pitting Mindoro (6-9) against Navotas (3-10) at 4 p.m.; Iloilo (8-6) against Pampanga (10-5); and Quezon City (6-9) against Pasay (10-6).