Batangas, Bacolod advance to OKbet-MPBL semifinals –

Batangas leaned on the late third-quarter explosion of Juneric Baloria, trounced Bacoor, 70-57, on Saturday and advanced to the semifinal round of the South division of the OKbet-MPBL (Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League) 4th Season Presented by Xtreme at the Batangas City Coliseum.
Earlier, Bacolod Bingo Plus bested General Santos City, to also clinch a South division semifinal slot via another 2-1 score in their quarterfinal series.
Baloria, former star of the Perpetual Help Altas, poured 11 points in the last two minutes of that decisive period as the Batangas City Embassy Chill Athletics pulled away from the Bacoor Strikers, 54-34.
It was easy sailing for Batangas from there as the Athletics moved beyond recall at 68-45 and clinched their quarterfinal series against the Strikers, 2-1.
Baloria, who continues to wear a protective mask on his face, wound up with 12 points and 4 rebounds, complementing the 13-point, 13-rebound, 4-steal,2-assist output of Cedric Ablaza. Levi Hernandez contributed 10 points for the Athletics of Coach Cholo Villanueva.
The Strikers tried to mount a rally in the fourth quarter behind the 16-point outburst of Jan Jamon, but could not even threaten the Athletics, who drew inspiration from the thousands of Batanguenos who watched the game in the
The Athletics will be facing the Rizal Xentromall Golden Coolers in a best-of-3 semifinal series starting on Tuesday, November 8, at the Vitaliano Agan Coliseum in Zamboanga City.
Bacolod, on the other hand, is pitted against South top qualifier Zamboanga.
Alwyn Alday played a crucial role for Bacolod as he pulled off a defensive stop and canned two charities in the dying seconds that spelled doom for GenSan.
It was Jhan Nermal, however, who earned best player honors with 21 points and 10 rebounds as against Alday’s 14 points.
AAron Jeruta and Jayboy Solis posted 10 points each for Bacolod.
GenSan got 17 points plus 8 rebounds from Christian Fajarito, 11 points from Brian Hilario and 10 points from Nico Elorde.
The MPBL starts its North division semifinal playoffs on Monday with Pasig and San Juan colliding at 6:30 p.m. at the Nueva Ecija Coliseum in Palayan City. Unbeaten Nueva Ecija battles Pampanga in the other semifinal at 9 p.m.

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