By Jerome Lagunzad
(People’s Center, Balanga City)
7 p.m. – Mandaluyong vs Navotas
9 p.m. – Bataan vs Gen. Santos City
Homegrown talent Michael Juico put on a record-setting offensive performance as host Pampanga pulled the rug from under Parañaque, 82-79, for its second straight win in the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League Anta Datu Cup at the Angeles University Foundation gym in Angeles City, Pampanga.
The 6-foot-flat Juico pumped in a new league-record of 35 points, making 16 of his 23 attempts from the field, on top of seven rebounds, three steals and as many assists as the host Lanterns gave the visiting Patriots a perfect dose of their own medicine down the stretch.
Lefty gunner Juneric Baloria torched his former team with 20 points while big man Marlon Gomez added 11 points and 12 rebounds to help Pampanga gain a big follow-up to an 81-80 win over Bacoor last July 3 and jack up its mark to 2-1 in the stacked North Division.
However, it was Juico who shone the brightest especially on the offensive end as the one-time GlobalPort Batang Pier repeatedly sliced through the Patriots’ defense that allowed the Lanterns to complete their fightback from a 16-point deficit.
“We are just motivated to redeem ourselves after we lost our first home game. Perhaps this is the best performance I have shown because I really want to use this MPBL stint as a springboard to make it back to the PBA,” said Juico.