MPBL: Gen San Warriors turn back erstwhile unbeaten San Juan Knights

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NOW we can call the General Santos City Warriors as one of the elite teams in the MPBL Lakan Season.

The Warriors proved it to all and sundry when they handed the San Juan Knights-Go For Gold their first loss in the tournament when they fashioned out a come-from-behind 97-91 win Friday night at the Muntinlupa Sports Complex.

Rob Celiz scored a career-high 27 points while Mike Williams added 23 to lead the Warriors to their seventh straight win. Gen San has not lost a game under head coach Rich Alvarez.

The Warriors picked up their ninth win in 11 games and solidified their hold of the solo second spot of this tournament put up by Senator Manny Pacquiao with PBA legend and former MVP Kenneth Duremdes serving as commissioner.

After winning its first 10 games, the law of averages finally caught up with San Juan, which remained on top of the standings of the fastest growing regional amateur basketball league put up by Senator Manny Pacquiao with PBA legend and former MVP Kenneth Duremdes serving as commissioner.

In pulling off their latest win, the Warriors had to do it the hard way.

They were clearly beaten in the first 20 minutes of play by the Knights, who led by as many as 15, 45-30, before mounting a rally in the third period.

Trailing by 14, 52-38, the Warriors unloaded a blistering 17-4 spurt and moved to within striking distance, 56-55, with 4:51 left in the third period.

John Orbeta, who gave the Warriors their first taste of the lead, 63-61, with 2:18 left before the team preserved a 70-65 advantage entering the final quarter.

Down the stretch, Rob Celiz scored the team’s last six points as the Warriors sustained a strong endgame finish.

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