The Marikina Shomasters did not let a rough start dampen their hopes of putting on a show for their home fans, as they turned back the visiting Pasig Pirates, 71-67, in the 2018 Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League (MPBL) Anta Datu Cup.
Led by reserve forward Erwin Sta. Maria’s 19 points, 7 boards, and 3 assists, Marikina’s savy team defense and composure down the stretch netted them the victory against a hungry Pirates squad, who are still seeking for that elusive first MPBL win.
Leading 35-30 at the half, a much-improved Pasig squad seemed poised to finally break into the win column, thanks in large part to Bernzon Franco’s mastery underneath. The lumbering center had 12 markers in the first two quarters and finished the game with 16 points and 14 boards.
The Pirates, however, lost momentum in the second half as turnovers continued to pile for the visiting team, which gave the Shoemasters 22 easy points off those 25 infractions.
Sta. Maria and JR Ng Sang calmly sank their free-throw attempts near the end game, giving Marikina its third win in six games. Pasig, on the other hand, remains at the bottom of the standings and is the only MPBL team yet to achieve the taste of victory this season.
—Despite only making 25 of their total 80 shots from the field (31 percent), Marikina secured the win by making more free throws (14-23 for 60 percent) and draining more three pointers (7-28 for 25 percent). They also held the advantage on fast break points, 14-8.
—Ng Sang continues to be a force inside for Marikina, contributing a strong double-double performance of 15 points and 11 rebounds. A misfiring Yves Sazon still managed to produce 12 markers on 35 percent shooting (5-14 FG, 2-8 from three).
—Former Barako Bull Warren Ybañez was a terror on the passing lanes all night, notching a career-high 8 thefts. Marikina had 14 steals as a team.
—Celebrity baller Gerald Anderson was once again held without a field goal in 15 minutes of action, but head coach Elvis Tolentino praised him for his tenacity on the defensive end.
—Pasig outscored Marikina in the shaded lane, 38-26, and held a 7-rebound margin against the home team, 50-43. They also distributed the rock better, tallying 18 assists contrary to Marikina’s 15, but still managed to lose the game.
—The Pirates will return to its home floor on August 21 and will try to pry a win against the Navotas Clutch squad. Marikina will face the Bataan Risers next at the Makati Coliseum on August 18.
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