MANILA — Zamboanga Rapidos kept its bid to make the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League Datu Cup playoffs alive after blasting Pasay Voyagers, 91-74, at the Cuneta Astrodome in Pasay City on Tuesday night.
The Rapidos broke loose from the Voyagers in the second half, opening a double-digit advantage and averting their opponents’ comeback bids.
Zamboanga went for the exclamation point in the fourth quarter, building its largest lead at 21 before settling for the 17-point winning margin.
Harold Arboleda came close to a triple-double with 23 points, 12 rebounds, and seven assists for the Rapidos, who are now 9-12.
Allan Santos came up with his own double-double after grabbing 13 rebounds and 10 points with five assists, one block, and two steals.
Ivan Villanueva had his best performance as a Rapido, collecting 15 markers, six boards, and one dime.
Reed Juntilla showed that he can still thrive with the club formerly known as the Valientes despite its new core by tallying 14 points on 6-of-10 shooting, seven rebounds, four assists, and one steal off the bench.
The team once again forced a virtual tie with Biñan (10-13) for eighth place in the Southern Division.
Shaq Alanes made 13 points, two caroms, one dime, and one steal for Pasay, which found itself at the brink of elimination after falling to 7-16.
In the first game, the GenSan Warriors blew an early double-digit lead but recovered in time to edge the Parañaque Patriots, 80-76.
The Warriors were on pace of blowing the Patriots out after opening a 29-11 lead with two minutes left in the first quarter.
Parañaque actually had its first comeback bid in the second quarter after cutting GenSan’s lead to just eight, 40-32, with under three minutes left before halftime.
The Warriors recovered and pulled off a 9-0 run spanning to the third quarter to reopen a 17-point cushion, 49-32.
The Patriots, however, threatened again after closing the third with an 8-0 run to draw to within seven, 53-60, entering the fourth.
Jorem Morada gave GenSan a wider breathing room after starting the payoff period with two free throws for a 62-53 advantage.
But Parañaque went full throttle in its comeback bid, going on an 18-3 run to take a 71-65 lead with 4:32 left.
The Warriors reclaimed the lead, 75-74, after going on a 9-2 run capped by triples from Morada and John Orbeta.
After an exchange of splits from Orbeta, Josh Almajeda, and Chris Menguez that led to a 75-all tie, Orbeta went 2-for-2 from the foul line to give GenSan a 77-75 lead with 40 seconds remaining.
Delmar Mahaling then stole the ball from RR de Leon, and Meylan Landicho scored two freebies of his own to up the lead to four, 79-75.
De Leon tried to make up from his costly turnover, but he muffed a three-point attempt and Landicho iced the game with a split from the free throw line.
Orbeta finished with 21 points, 11 rebounds, one assist, and one block for the Warriors, who moved up to 12-9, a half-game behind the Muntinlupa Cagers for second place in the Southern Division.
Landicho added 16 points, four rebounds, and one assist, while Morada came up with 13 markers, five boards, seven dimes, and two steals.
Vinny Begaso made 15 points, nine caroms, four assists, and one steal for the Patriots, whose playoff bid hit a roadblock after falling to 8-14, 1.5 games behind the Heroes. (PNA)