Five games. Five victories.
The San Juan Knights continued their unblemished run in the 2018 MPBL Anta Datu Cup, routing the Laguna Heroes, 81-56, in front of their hometown crowd in the San Juan stadium.
Living up to the lofty expectations set prior to the beginning of the season, the Go-For-Gold sponsored team didn’t mess around and immediately exerted their dominance from the opening bell.
Laguna was unable to mount any significant offense for 48 minutes due to San Juan’s brand of suffocating defense. They shot a poor 33 percent from the field (22-65) and a horrendous 5-26 from distance (19 percent clip).
Grizzled vets Larry Rodriguez, John Wilson, and Mike Ayon Ayon took charge on the other end of the floor for the Knights, pouring in 10, 13, and 11 markers, respectively.
They also outhustled their opponents on the glass, corralling 49 total rebounds as a unit and producing 15 second chance points, contrary to Laguna’s 34 boards and only 2 second chance points.
San Juan (5-0) and Muntinlupa (3-0) remain as the two unbeaten squads in the league, while Laguna has now lost back-to-back games and drops to a 2-3 slate.
—It was complete domination from the get-go, as the Heroes never tasted the lead for the entire 48 minutes. The Knights were up as much as 30 at one point in the game.
—San Juan’s bruising big men won the battle in the shaded area, collecting 42 points in the paint as opposed to Laguna’s 30. Rodriguez had his way inside, scoring all of his 5 baskets in close proximity.
—The Knights completed 9 steals as a team, with 3 of those coming from Aaron Jeruta. Rodriguez, meanwhile, punished Laguna’s slashers with his game-high 4 block shots.
—Both teams didn’t spend much time on the foul line, with Laguna only attempting 11 shots and draining 7 (63 percent). San Juan shot less, going 3-out-of-5 at a 60 percent clip.
—Laguna’s trio of PBA veterans (Denok Miranda, Jai Reyes, and Ryan Buenafe) were unable to put their stamp in the game and finished with a combined total of 13 points between them.
—Only Ralf Olivarez was able to barge into double digit scoring for Laguna, notching 15 points, three rebounds, and two steals. He made 6 of his 11 shots from the field (54 percent) and knocked down one three-pointer in four attempts.
—The Heroes will look to get back to the winning column when they visit the Bacoor Strikers on August 14 in Cavite. The Knights, meanwhile, will be tested by the surging Mandaluyong El Tigre on August 11 at the Valenzuela Astrodome.