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THE Nueva Ecija Rice Vanguards proved too much to handle for the Valenzuela City-MJAS Zenith, winning 100-77, in the Chooks-to-Go Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League Invitational powered by TM at the Mall of Asia Arena on Thursday morning, Dec. 16, 2021.
With the win, the Rice Vanguards tied San Juan-Go for Gold AICC at the top spot in Pool C. The two teams have identical 2-0 win-loss slates.
The Rice Vanguards already had a 45-29 lead at halftime but dug in even more in the second half to lead by as much as 41, 83-42, with 8:36 remaining in the game.
Chris Bitoon led the balanced offensive attack with 16 points laced with five rebounds, three assists, and three steals.
Will Gozum also had 16 points to go along with nine rebounds while team captain Renz Palma and Byron Villarias chipped in 14 markers apiece.
Roi Sumang set the tone early as well for Nueva Ecija, scoring seven of his 10 points during the first quarter. He also had four rebounds and four assists.
“I think the guys they’re knowledgeable enough about the game,” said Nueva Ecija head coach Carlo Tan. “They know that the last game could’ve been played better so I think they were determined to play better today, so the credit goes to them.”
On the other hand, Patrick Cabuhag scored a game-high 28 points for Val City on 7-of-20 shooting from the field. Dave Moralde had 10 points, four assists, and four rebounds while Robbi Darang chipped in eight markers and four rebounds.
Val City (1-2) is tied with Sarangani (1-2) while Muntinlupa is still winless at 0-2. / JNP