BATAAN and San Juan scored contrasting victories at the start of the semifinals in the MPBL northern division on Tuesday at the People’s Center in Balanga.
The Risers survived a huge fourth quarter rally by the Manila Stars for a 73-72 win, closing in on the division finals.
Meanwhile, Mac Cardona knocked in 14 of his 25 points in the fourth quarter to power San Juan to a 94-86 win over Quezon City.
“I’ll take any win, even if it’s ugly,” said Bataan coach Jojo Lastimosa, who complained of lapses in officiating, including a basket interference called on Aris Dionisio that was reviewed and reversed into a jump ball situation, handing the ball to the Stars.
It was big win for Lastimosa’s squad as they got back at first team that defeated them nearly a year ago.
Bataan scored 21 in the fourth quarter.
At one stretch in the third quarter, the Stars missed eight straight free throws – nine of the last 10 attempted.
But the Stars didn’t fold up easily and despite the shooting struggle, managed to turn a 68-47 deficit to a 69-67 advantage as the Risers were held without a field goal for a nine-minute stretch in the fourth.
Gab Dagangon stopped the bleeding for the Risers as his short stab gave his squad a 71-67 advantage, with 41 seconds left.
Manila missed 27 shots from the foul area and made only 11.