ANGELES CITY — Kevin Villafranca silenced Pampanga’s brief celebration with a dagger putback in the last two seconds to send the Cebu Sharks-Casino Ethyl Alcohol to a tense 69-68 win over the home team Lanterns in the MPBL Datu Cup at the Angeles University Foundation here late Saturday night.
The venue was rocking for a few seconds when Juneric Baloria hit a long triple that shoved the ADG Construction-backed Lanterns to a 68-67 lead with still 23 seconds left in the match.
It didn’t last long as Villafranca cleaned up a missed offensive thrust from Victor Nuñez and put his team back in the driver’s seat in the last two seconds.
The Lanterns had a chance to salvage a win, but Jimbo Aquino muffed a wide open trey at the buzzer, allowing the Sharks to win for the ninth time in 20 games.
The win tied Cebu with the Laguna Heroes-Krah in seventh to eighth places of the southern division of this event put up by Senator Manny Pacquiao with PBA legend and former MVP Kenneth Duremdes serving as commissioner.
Pampanga dropped into a tie for ninth to 10th spots with the same 7-12 win-loss record.
Will McAloney finished with 13 points and 13 boards as he flexed his muscles against the smaller frontliners of Pampanga while Patrick Cabahug led the team in point-production, scoring 20.
San Juan brought down Basilan, 95-84, to move up to solo third spot in the tough northern division.
Mac Cardona paced the Go-For-Gold-supported Knights with 26 points, allowing San Juan to improve its win-loss record to 16-4, the third best in the north behind Bataan and Manila.