by Jerome Lagunzad
Games Tomorrow (Bataan People’s Center)
7 p.m. – Valenzuela vs Muntinlupa
9 p.m. – Bataan vs Parañaque
Former Ginebra star Marlou Aquino turned back the hands of time and helped power Bulacan stop Batangas City, 80-72, on Saturday night in the 2018 Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League Anta Rajah Cup.
The 6-foot-9 Aquino, now 45, squeezed the best on what’s left from his tank as he showed flashes of his old brilliance in the second half where the Kuyas turned the tables on the fast-starting Athletics inside the packed Imus Sports Complex.
Fondly called as “The Skyscraper” during his PBA days, Aquino provided quality minutes off the bench with eight points, four rebounds, two assists and a block before he took the backseat for young gun Jovit Dela Cruz who delivered the killer blows down the stretch.
The wiry Dela Cruz banged in six of his 14 points in the final two minutes to help the Kuyas hold off the Athletics’ fightback and secure their second straight victory and fourth overall in seven matches, moving up to solo fifth spot.
Former pro Val Acuña continued his fiery form with 23 points, spiked by a season-high seven triples, but the rest of his teammates groped for form all game long.
In the nightcap, sweet-shooting big man Orly Daroya drilled in a triple from the top of the key at the buzzer as the host Bandera foiled the visiting Navotas Clutch, 70-67.
The 6-foot-4 Daroya thrived anew off the bench as he sizzled with a game-high 29 points on 10-of-15 shooting from the field, including six treys, the last of them getting off his fingertips with a tenth of a second left to help Imus outduel Navotas in a tight finish.
Chestern Melencio and Mikey Cabahug also joined the bench mob with a combined 19-point production as the Bandera racked up their second straight victory under coach Jerry Codiñera and improved to 2-5 overall.