Manalang sizzles in payoff period as Pasig escapes Pasay

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Nearly squandering a 22-point third quarter lead, the Pasig Sta. Lucia Realtors gutted it out in the end game to clinch a 71-68 victory over the Pasay Voyagers in the Saturday main game of the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League (MPBL) Lakan Season.

Inside a packed Pasig Sports Center, the Realtors claimed their first home win of the tournament at the expense of a gutsy Pasay five that just fell short in scoring a reversal.

Robbie Manalang dropped 10 of his 16 points in the fourth quarter, highlighted by two huge three-pointers in the final two minutes.

The Adamson University standout knocked down a triple at the final 1:57, pushing Pasig ahead 64-61. A three at the final 1:05 – this time from Jeric Teng – extended Pasig’s lead to six, 67-61.

But Pasay still had one rally left.

A three from Jan Jamon and a layup off a steal from Teng by Axel Iñigo drew Pasay closer, 67-66, with 48 ticks remaining in the game.

In the ensuing Pasig possession, Manalang buried his fourth triple of the contest with 27 seconds remaining, giving his squad a 70-66 cushion.

Teng also tallied 16 points and grabbed 11 rebounds to finish with a double-double performance. Josan Nimes added 15 markers off the bench for the Realtors, who now hold a 2-2 win-loss slate.

Don Reverent led all scorers with 19 points, along with 15 rebounds. Iñigo contributed 14 markers and seven assists for Pasay, who fell to its third loss in six games.

In last season’s Datu Cup, it took eight months for Pasig – then under a different management – to record a home win. Pasig’s lone victory at their home floor – a 69-67 squeaker over Pampanga – dates back to February 14 of the current year.

Another home game is slated for the Realtors, as they welcome the Rizal Golden Coolers on July 22.

The Voyagers return to action on July 12 as they face the Zamboanga Family’s Brand Sardines at the Alonte Sports Arena in Biñan.

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