MANILA, Valenzuela and Pateros hurdled their respective opponents to share the opening-day limelight in the Metro League Open basketball championships at the Caloocan City Sports Complex.
Manila rode on the 1-2 punch of Jayford Rodriguez and Almel Orquina to bring down Marikina, 90-82, in the third and final game of a long and busy weekend in the 10-team tournament presented by the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) in cooperation with the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA).
Rodriguez finished with 25 points on 11-of-19 shooting from the floor and 13 rebounds and Orquina added 21 points for the All Stars of coach Adoe Salazar and consultant Rene Baena.
Mark Neil Cruz also had a monster game with 12 points and a game-high 19 rebounds, including 11 offensive.
Fancis Munsayac and Conrad Castillo paced the Shoelanders with 16 points apiece.
Valenzuela defeated Caloocan, 95-85, behind the 33-point, 14-rebound explosion of veteran Erwin Sta. Maria, while Pateros nipped Paranaque, 78-70, on Rickson Gerero’s 20 points, 11 rebounds and four assists.
Sta. Maria made 15-of-26 shots in 28 minutes to lead the Gerry Esplana-coached Workhorses, who also had more rebounds, 70-43, and more assists, 24-21, than the Supremos.
Reneford Ruaya added 16 points and 12 rebounds, and Dan Natividad, John Tayongtong and Josiah Espala contributed 10 points apiece.
Johnnel Bauzon, MJ Enriquez, Kris Torrado and Ismael Pacheco shared scoring honors for the Supremos.
MMDA Special Operations Commander Bong Nebrija, who represented MMDA Chairman Danny Lim, made the ceremonial toss during the colorful opening ceremony.
Nebrija was assisted by MMDA Sports Director Atty. Cris Sarruca and M-League tournament director Bonnie Tan, finance officer Waiyip Chong and commissioner Glen Capacio.
Aya Fernandez of Taguig was voted as 2018 M-League Best Muse.
A total of 10 cities divided into the North and South Divisions are seeing action in the one-and-a- half month long tournament which has Spalding as the official ball, Team Rebel Sports as the official outfitter and Synergy 88, San Miguel Corp., World Balance, Frabelle Foods, Summit Mineral Water, AlcoPlus, Gerry’s Grill, Excellent Noodles, SM Supermalls and Nature’s Spring as major sponsors.