THE San Juan Knights are as deadly as ever.
Flashing their old fiery form, the Knights trounced the Rizal Xentro Mall Golden Coolers, 101-86, on Thursday to wrest the overall lead in the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League Lakan Season at San Andres Sports Complex in Manila.
It was the third straight win in as many starts for the Knights, who are raring to replicate their triumph in the MPBL Datu Cup.
Former pro John Wilson and MPBL All-Star Michael Ayonayon shone again as the Knights pulled down the Golden Coolers to 1-2.
Wilson fired a game-high 25 points, including seven straight that doomed the Golden Coolers, 89-69, going to the last four minutes.
Ayonayon, on the other hand, pumped in 15 points, seven coming during a murderous 19-1 spurt where he combined with Wilson and CJ Isit to push the Knights to a 96-69 spread.
The Golden Coolers tried to trim the gap, but the most they could do was make the count 96-83, following a 14-3 blast sparked by Mark Benitez’s three straight triples.
Benitez ended up with 13 points, next only to Jordan Rios’ 16, Jayvee Vidal’s 15 and Janus Lozada’s 14.
Earlier, the Pasay Voyagers returned to orbit with an 82-65 demolition of Imus Bandera.
Powered by Jan Jamon’s 15 points and Ron Lastimosa’s 12, the Voyagers tallied their third victory against a lone loss.
The Bandera, who got 14 points from Mark Doligon and 12 from James Martinez, dropped to 1-2.
Former PBA MVP Jayjay Helterbrand contributed eight points while actor Gerald Anderson chipped in three for Imus.
The Manila Stars recovered their bearing in time to thwart the General Santos Warriors, 79-72.
Trailing by five going to the last five minutes, 66-61, the Stars struck back through Aris Dionisio to climb to 3-1.
Dionisio poured 11 of his game-high 23 points in the fourth quarter to bail out the Stars, who also drew 13 points from Gian Abrigo and 11 each from Carlo Lastimosa, Chris Bitoon and Ronnie Matias.
The Warriors fell to 2-2 despite the 21-point output of Mike Williams, the 12 of Daryl Goloran and the 10 of Pamboy Raymundo.
Manila coach Justino Pinat, a former Letran Knight, said the Stars are a talented bunch, but the players are still adjusting to his system.