EXPANSION team San Juan and last season's semifinalist Valenzuela outplayed their respective rivals on Wednesday night and showed their readiness for the second season of the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League (MPBL).
Led by PBA veterans Mac Cardona and John Wilson, the Knights blasted the Marikina Shoemasters, 92-65, in a preseason game and made a strong statement to the 25 other teams in the league.
The Knights displayed their full potential on offense and were as unforgiving on defense, holding celebrity baller Gerald Anderson scoreless in his stint with Marikina. Anderson couldn't attempt a single basket and committed three turnovers.
Over at Valenzuela's THOA Court, the Classic bucked a slow start before turning back the Pasig Pirates, 96-88, in the other tune-up match scheduled Wednesday.
The Chris Gavina-mentored Classic rallied from a 16-point deficit in the first period and got their bearings back when Paoolo Hubalde, the team's court general, returned after being poked in the eye in the first period.
"We have to come out prepared, right from the very start. We cannot allow ourselves to fall behind early. That's not a good habit," said Gavina.
The Classic have two more scheduled tune-up games in the coming days.