MANILA – Nueva Ecija set a new Philippine record for the longest single-season winning streak ever in professional basketball after drubbing Marikina, 82-71, in Game 2 of their Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League playoff series on Saturday night at the Bren Z. Guiao Convention Center in San Fernando City, Pampanga.

The victory was the Rice Vanguards' 23rd straight win overall in the regional league's fourth season, eclipsing the 22-game winning streak the Manila Metrostars set during the 1999 Metropolitan Basketball Association regular season.

However, the implication made it even sweeter for Nueva Ecija as the team moves on to the Northern Division semifinals.

Will McAloney put up 19 points, nine rebounds, two assists, and four blocks to lead the Rice Vanguards, who will next face the winner of another first-round series between the Pampanga Giant Lanterns and the Bataan Risers.

Pampanga will try to sweep its own playoff tie with Bataan later Saturday at home.

Byron Villarias added 12 points, three rebounds, five assists, and two steals, while Michael Mabulac and Michael Juico each chipped in 11 points with the latter adding 10 rebounds for a double-double.

Jason Opiso made 18 markers, nine boards, one dime, and one steal off the bench for the Shoemasters. (PNA)