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San Juan sweeps QC; Manila forces rubber match vs. Bataan

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MANILA — The San Juan Knights clinched the first seat in the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League (MPBL) Northern Division Finals after blasting the Quezon City Capitals, 106-81, in Game 2 of their North semis series at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan City on Thursday night.

The Knights pulled away in the second half, outscoring the Capitals, 63-37, to turn a 43-44 halftime deficit to the blowout.

Mac-Mac Cardona fired 26 points, seven rebounds, eight assists, one steal, and two blocks for San Juan, which will have to wait until next week to play in the league semifinals after Manila forced a rubber match against Bataan in the other North semifinal series.

The Manila Stars, after letting the Bataan Risers sneak into their hot start, regained their touch midway through the fourth quarter, going on an 8-0 run for an 11-point cushion, 73-62, before holding them off for an 80-76 win.

Aris Dionisio put up 23 points, five rebounds, two assists, three blocks, and three steals for Manila, which forced a Game 3 back at the Bataan People’s Center in Balanga on Monday night.

Marcy Arellano, on the other hand, became the seventh player in MPBL history to post a triple-double with 13 points, 10 rebounds, and 10 assists with one steal and no turnover.

Andoy Estrella led six QC players in double figures with 14 points along with seven rebounds, seven assists, and one block as his team bids adieu for the season.

Gab Dagangon, on the other hand, posted 28 markers, 10 rebounds, one assist, one steal, and one block for Bataan. (PNA)