By KRISTEL SATUMBAGA
The San Juan Knights and the Mandaluyong El Tigre defeated their respective rivals in contrasting fashions to remain at second place in the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League Datu Cup at The Arena in San Juan City on Wednesday night.
The Knights blasted the Zamboanga Valientes, 80-59, while the Dataland-backed El Tigre squeaked past the Parañaque Patriots, 77-75, to improve their records to 6-1.
John Wilson finished with 23 points and eight rebounds while Mac Cardona and Larry Rodriguez added 11 points apiece for the Go for Gold-backed Knights, who moved half a game behind unbeaten Muntinlupa Cagers.
Bobby Ray Parks, meanwhile, erupted for 26 points, five rebounds and six assists for the El Tigre, who survived the Patriots’ late run after being held scoreless in the last 2:47.
The Patriots threatened the El Tigre by cutting their 77-68 deficit to 77-75 courtesy of seven straight points from Robin Rono, Harold Arboleda and Evan Allen.
But Allen’s jumper with barely 19 seconds left ended the threat.
The Patriots evened their record to 4-4 in this tournament put up by Senator Manny Pacquiao with former PBA MVP Kenneth Duremdes serving as commissioner.
San Juan held Zamboanga without a field goal for nearly a seven-minute stretch in the third period then unloaded a blistering 17-0 run to turn a close game into a rout.