Are the Athletics experiencing some championship blues?
After being crowned as the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League (MPBL) inaugural champions, the Batangas City Athletics looks to have lost its edge in season number two, dropping its third straight game against the Pampanga Lanterns.
Down by 8 points at the beginning of the fourth period, Juneric Baloria took matters into his own hands and brought his team back by way of long distance shots. He won Player of The Game honors after finishing the game with 18 markers (4-8 from deep) and 6 boards.
Pampanga seemed poised to take over the game in the dying seconds of the fourth, up until Batangas’ Paul Varilla converted on a clutch jumper to tie the game at 72 and send the game to an extra period.
But Baloria continued his splendid performance in the extra five minutes, sealing the game for Pampanga and helping his team snap out of a two-game losing streak.
The Lanterns now boast a 3-3 win-loss record, while Batangas has now lost four of its first 6 games in the 2018 Anta Datu Cup.
—Both teams did not shoot particularly well from the field, as Pampanga converted 38 percent of their total shots (32-84) while Batangas made 24 percent (27-79). The Lanterns, however, received more production from its starting unit, outscoring the Athletics, 55-27.
—The league’s top-scorer Michael Juico (26 points per game) had a lackluster showing last night, only tallying 15 points. He missed 10 of his 15 attempts from the field but made up for it by grabbing 9 rebounds and dishing three dimes.
—Pampanga’s bigs controlled the glass, notching a 57-52 edge in total rebounds. Allen Enriquez and Marlon Gomez had 21 boards between them. They also held a 48-44 advantage in points in the paint.
—Varilla (10 points) and Jhaymo Eguilos (12) are the only two starters who scored in double figures for Batangas. Teytey Teodoro came off the bench to pour in 20 points, but his inefficiency from beyond the arc (1-9) contributed to the team’s demise.
—Bench points went in favor of the defending champs, 48-25, and they also took advantage of their attempts from the line, converting 18-23 free throws (78 percent).
—Pampanga meets the Davao Occidental next on August 25 at the Alonte Sports Arena in Biñan, Laguna. Batangas will tussle with the surging Bulacan Kuyas in their home floor on August 28.