ANGELES CITY — Cebu caught a big fish in Bulacan even as home team Pampanga brought down Mandaluyong to keep their hopes alive in the MPBL Datu Cup.
The Casino Ethyl Alcohol-backed Sharks ripped the Mighty Sports-supported Kuyas, 70-54, and stayed on track to secure an outright playoff berth Saturday night at the Angeles University Arena.
Far Eastern University standout Joel Lee Yu scored a career-high 18 points to power the Sharks to their 11th win in 23 games. With still two more games left, Cebu still needs to win its remaining two games to put itself in better position and avoid whatever complications.
After absorbing its ninth loss in 22, the Kuyas still hold the No. 5 spot, but lost their chance of securing a top four berth that would give them a home court advantage.
Pampanga outlasted Mandaluyong, 90-85, for its second straight home court win. More importantly, the ADG Construction-backed Lanterns improved their win-loss mark to 9-12 to put themselves at eighth spot of the tough northern division of this tournament put up by Senator Manny Pacquiao with PBA legend and former MVP Kenneth Duremdes serving as commissioner.
Michael Juico had another explosive game by finishing with 29 points, with 16 of them coming in the second half. The former GlobalPort Batang Pier guard also added seven rebounds and three steals in another all-around performance for the Lanterns.
Fellow ex-pro Levy Hernandez scored 19 markers, while Juneric Baloria had a double-double performance of 16 points and 13 rebounds.
The loss was a big blow for Mandaluyong, which now holds an 8-13 card, the same record being held by Valenzuela.
But the Classic will assume the No. 10 spot while the El Tigre to No. 11, putting both squads in a must-win situation in their remaining four games.