BALANGA, BATAAN - Pampanga locked the fourth seed in the North after a 71-62 victory over Pasig-Sta. Lucia in the 2019-20 Chooks-to-Go/MPBL Lakan Season here at the Bataan People's Center, Wednesday.
Up by three points, Mark Cruz orchestrated an 11-5 run capped off by a floater from Larry Muyang to put the Giant Lanterns up by nine points, 71-62, with 59.6 seconds remaining in the game.
Cruz's hands were all over the crucial rally, pumping in four points while also assisting on seven baskets in the process.
And it proved to be the exclamation point for Pampanga, as Pasig could not overcome the deficit.
The diminutive guard out of Letran finished the game with eight points, eight assists, two rebounds, and two steals.
"We want to go for a win all the time kasi we're building a character going to the playoffs. Ngayon nakuha pa namin yung number four spot for the advantage sa playoffs," said Pampanga head coach Bong Ramos on his team's seven-game winning streak heading into the playoffs.
Michael Juico top-scored Pampanga with 20 points and six rebounds, helping the Giant Lanterns secure the fourth spot in the North with a 21-9 card.
Michael Juico goes for a layup as Josan Nimes looks on.
Reil Cervantes added 11 points, six boards, and two assists while Dexter Maiquez scored eight points and grabbed 11 rebounds.
Meanwhile, Josan Nimes paced Pasig with 17 points, three rebounds, and two assists.
The Realtors ended their elimination round campaign at the seventh seed with an 18-12 win-loss slate.
Pampanga (71) -- Juico 20, Cervantes 11, Cruz 8, Maiquez 8, Hernandez 8, Muyang 6, Fabian 5, Thompson 3, Apreku 2, Alberto
Pasig-Sta. Lucia (62) -- Nimes 17, Teng 14, Najorda 12, Manalang 7, Gotladera 5, Adriano 4, Canon 2, Tamayo 1, Velchez 0, Medina 0, Grealy 0, Chavenia 0
Quarterscores: 15-16, 30-30, 49-49, 71-62