ZAMBOANGA -- Zamboanga’s return to Sardines Capital of the Philippines was met with a feverish welcome from local fans who packed the Mayor Vitaliano Agan Coliseum late Saturday night.
The Zamboanguenos didn’t go home disappointed as their MPBL squad was able to score a 72-63 win over the Bacoor Strikers and boost their Datu Cup playoff campaign.
Allan Santos finished with 16 points to lead the way for the Family’s Brand Sardines-supported squad, which improved its win-loss record to 11-12 and climbed to sixth spot of the southern division of the tournament put up by Senator Manny Pacquiao with PBA legend and former MVP Kenneth Duremdes serving as commissioner.
Bacoor absorbed its second straight loss and fell to 11-11 card, but still remained in fifth spot of the southern division of this tournament also supported by LGR, the official outfitter of the MPBL.
“We were happy with the turnout and the warm welcome received from our Zamboangueno fans,” said team owner Anita Kaw.
Joseph Nalos, Reed Juntilla and Von Lanete conspired in a blistering 8-0 run in the third period that gave Zamboanga its first sizeable lead, 52-39, entering the three and a half minute mark. Zamboanga was never seriously threatened from there.
Earlier, Valenzuela turned to Ryan Arambulo, who scattered 16 markers to power the Classic to a 79-72 win over the General Santos City Warriors.
Arambulo’s solid game sparked the Classic to their 10th win in 24 games.
The team will be playing its final game against host team San Juan at the Filoil Flying V Arena on Monday.
Although they are already out of the running, the Classic want to make a good lasting impression when they shoot for a win against the powerhouse Knights.
The loss was the 10th in 22 games for the Warriors.
Meanwhile, the first-ever MPBL All-Star Weekend will be held on March 2 a the Mall of Asia Arena in PasayCity.
MPBL Commissioner Kenneth Duremdes said five events, including the centerpiece North versus South All Star Game, will spice up the festivities aimed at bringing together the top players of the league.
“This will be a one-of-a-kind MPBL treat. Ito ay magsisilbing pasasalamat na din ng MPBL, sa pamumuno ni Sen. Pacquiao,sa lahat ng aming mga taga-tangkilik ,” said Duremdes.
As part of the treat, Sen. Pacquiao and the MPBL will give away a brand-new car, motorcycles and other prizes to the lucky fans.
“Lahat ay pwedeng manalo. Simple lang po ang gagawin natin. Manood ng laro at bumili ng tikets kahit magkano ang halaga at kasali na sa raffle sa mga premyong kaloob ni Sen. Pacquiao,” explained Duremdes.
Aside from the All-Star Game, the other events schedule are the Slam Dunk Contest, Three-Point Shootout, 2-Ball Competition and the Executive Match.
Duremdes said he has invited three PBA legends – Vergel “Aerial Voyager” Meneses, Paul “Mr. Excitement” Alvarez and Nelson”The Bull” Asaytono to serve as the judges in the Three-Point contest.