By Jerome Lagunzad
(Caloocan Sports Complex)
7 p.m. – Batangas City vs Valenzuela
9 p.m. – Caloocan vs San Juan
Big man Cedric Ablaza atone himself from a sub-par showing the last time out as Makati City held off Davao Occidental, 79-77, to get its Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League Anta Datu Cup title campaign back on track at the Alonte Sports Arena in Biñan, Laguna.
The 6-foot-4 Ablaza had a near flawless offensive performance off the bench, making all but one of his 10 attempts from the field for a team-high 22 points while hauling down eight rebounds to help the Skyscrapers stave off the Tigers’ late rally.
“My extra shooting during our practices paid big dividends tonight. During our last game, I was forcing my way inside that’s why I wasn’t able to get good shots,” said Ablaza who struggled with just two points on a horrendous 1-of-9 shooting in Makati City’s 72-65 loss to inaugural champion Batangas City last July 10.
Former Kia stalwart Philip Paniamogan added 16 points, five rebounds and four assists while fellow starter Jeckster Apinan added 13 points and 10 rebounds for Makati City, which improved its mark to 3-1 in the North Division.
Not to be outshone were the Rizal Crusaders, who finally barged into the win-column at the expense of host Laguna Heroes, 80-79.
Alvin Vitug provided the offensive punch off the bench with 21 points, including the game-winning short-stab with 1.2 seconds remaining that enabled the Crusaders to claim what seemed to be an elusive victory on their fourth try.