BIÑAN—More than its catchy jingle, Zamboanga made sure its basketball team will also draw attention and on Thursday night, the Valientes snatched one from host team Laguna at the Alonte Sports Complex.
The Valientes outlasted the Heroes, 86-80, and made a good first impression in the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League (MPBL) Anta Datu Cup.
Reed Juntilla and Jonathan Parreno, two ex-PBA players, who thrived playing in “ligang labas” in the South, led the way for the Valientes.
Juntilla, a former guard from Yeng Guiao’s Barako Bull squad in the PBA, finished with 30 points. His crucial baskets down the stretch, along with Parreno’s, who added 18 markers, helped the Family Brand Sardines-backed Valientes to dcore a huge win against the home team Heroes.
The Heroes were paced by former Petron star point guard Denok Miranda, who had 26 points. Both teams had their series of scoring runs.
In the first half, the Heroes dictated the tempo early, posting a 23-12 lead in the early part of the second period.
But in the fourth period, it was the Valientes who played with more composure, as Juntilla, a former PBL MVP, and Parreno carried the load for Zamboanga.
Yacob Ati, team owner of the Valientes, told FOX Sports Philippines that Zamboanguenos back home were watching on television, as if eight-division world champion Manny Pacquiao was fighting in a title bout.