Pampanga Giant Lanterns now has an inside track of making a Top 4 finish in the Northern Division of the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League (MPBL) after mauling Cebu Sharks, 88-77, at the Cuneta Astrodome in Pasay City on Tuesday night.
The Giant Lanterns, who were error-prone in the first three quarters, pulled away from the Sharks after outscoring them, 23-11, in the first nine minutes of the fourth quarter.
"The whole game we controlled them eh, kaso nakakakuha ang Cebu sa errors namin, kaya nakakahabol ang Cebu. Pero noong huli, hindi na namin binitawan 'yung lamang (But Cebu got points off our errors so they were able to catch up. But down the stretch, we didn't let go of the points)," said coach Bong Ramos on the crucial win.
Levi Hernandez led Pampanga, which moved up to 19-9, tying Bataan for the fourth spot in the North, with 21 points, one assist, one steal, and one block.
Michael Juico added 15 points, 13 rebounds, four assists, two steals, and one block off the bench, while Dexter Maiquez chipped in 14 markers, 11 rebounds, two dimes, one block, and one steal.
Will McAloney made 17 points, 17 caroms, two blocks, and six steals for Cebu, whose playoff hopes suffered a huge dent as the team fell to 13-14, 1.5 games behind Bicol for the eighth spot in the Southern Division.
Source: Philippines News Agency