MPBL: Manila, Pampanga try to sustain winning run, Basilan, Pasay want to get back on track

Barcelona maintain their push for the play-offs with a 80-74 win at Fenerbahce

Games Friday
(Alonte Sports Center)
4 p.m. – Zamboanga vs Pasay
6:30 p.m. – Manila vs Pampanga
8:30 p.m. – Basilan vs Biñan City

POWERHOUSE teams Manila and Pampanga try to build on a winning run when they shoot for a victory at each other’s expense in one of the scheduled three matches lined up in the MPBL Lakan Season at the Alonte Sports Center in Biñan.

Both the Frontrow-backed Stars and the ADG Construction-supported Giant Lanterns are coming off back-to-back victories, but only one them could sustain that winning run when they square off in their 6:30 p.m. encounter.

The Stars had been getting MVP numbers from Aris Dionisio, last season’s Defensive Player of the Year, who has been averaging 16.3 points and 11.3 rebounds a game. The 6-foot-4 forward has been practically doing it all for the Justino Pinat-mentored squad – from points, rebounds, and making stops.

In his team’s last victory over the Gen San Warriors, Dionisio pumped in 23 points on top of five blocks and the energy he supplies for the team also rubs off on everyone from resident star and long-time teammate Chris Bitoon to new key recruits like Gian Abrigo, Carlo Lastimosa and Ronnie Matias.

The Stars will be facing yet another big test when they collide with the equally formidable Giant Lanterns of head coach Bong Ramos.

How Riel Cervantes will perform against his former team will also be an interesting backdrop in the game between Manila and Pampanga.

Cervantes was part of the Manila team that made it to last season’s northern division finals, but decided to transfer to the Giant Lanterns in the off season.

The two other scheduled matches will feature interesting story lines as well.

Zamboanga looks for its first back-to-back triumphs in the tournament put up by Senator Manny Pacquiao with PBA legend and former MVP Kenneth Duremdes serving as commissioner. The Family’s Brand Sardines-backed team will take on Pasay, which is also out to arrest a two-game slide in the 4 p.m. match.

In the main game, host Biñan City and Basilan try to get back on the winning run when they battle it out in the 8:30 p.m. encounter.

At 2-4, Biñan City will have to win over Basilan to avoid falling deeper at the bottom half of the southern division.

Still licking the wound of its previous overtime loss to Batangas City, Basilan, on the other hand, looks for a victory that would give the team a chance to join General Santos City and Bicol in a three-way tie for third to fifth places.