MPBL quarterfinal pairings set

MANILA – The pairings for the quarterfinals of the Chooks-to-Go Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League (MPBL) Invitational have been formalized following the conclusion of the elimination round on Monday night at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay.

Pasig, Nueva Ecija, and Basilan swept their respective groups, while Imus scored a huge win on the final day of the group stages and got some help from an also-ran squad to also seal one of the top seeds in the knockout stages.

Bandera opened the day with a 90-79 rout of the Rizal Crusaders in the lone morning action.

Jhaymo Eguilos led Imus, which gradually pulled away from Rizal in the middle two quarters, with 18 points, eight rebounds, and two assists off the bench.

Adi Santos added 17 markers, 10 boards, one dime, and one block.

In the next game, Bulacan played a spoiler role and eliminated Manila with a 98-89 shocker.

James Martinez erupted for 31 points on 7-of-11 shooting alongside six rebounds and eight assists off the bench to lead the Kuyas, which waxed hot in the second half to steal the win from the Stars, who would have been the top seed in Pool D if they won.

Brian Faundo (17 points and 12 rebounds) and Jack Hoyohoy (14 points and 11 rebounds) each tallied double-doubles to backstop Martinez for Bulacan, whose win catapulted Mindoro to the quarterfinals as the second seed.

In the third game, the Realtors edged the Negros Muscovados, 85-73, to complete a 5-0 sweep of Pool A.

Jeckster Apinan had 12 points, six rebounds, and one steal to lead Pasig, which pulled away from Negros through a 26-13 third quarter that broke a 41-all halftime deadlock.

In the fourth game, theNueva Ecija’s Rice Vanguards swept Pool C after an 84-72 win over the Muntinlupa Cagers.

Will Gozum and Byron Villarias each scored 15 points to lead Nueva Ecija.

In the nightcap, the Steel swept Pool B after edging the Makati Blazers, 80-79.

Encho Serrano fired 29 points on 11-of-14 shooting, five rebounds, three assists, and one steal off the bench to lead Basilan, which in the process also brought Bicol to the quarterfinals as the second seed.

Mar Villahermosa made 18 markers, three caroms, seven dimes, and one swipe for Makati, which needed a blowout win to steal the quarterfinal spot from Basilan.The Steel battle the Tamaraws, Bandera take on the Volcanoes, the Rice Vanguards clash with the Iloilo United Royals, and the Realtors face the San Juan Knights in the knockout quarterfinals all happening on Tuesday also at the MOA Arena. (PNA)

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