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Will Nueva Ecija become the New MPBL Champion?

December 7, 2022
by TJ
359 views


Will Nueva Ecija become the New MPBL Champion?

The Nueva Ecija Rice Vanguards look like they’re on the road to being crowned as OKBET-sponsored MPBL Season 4 champion, going flawless before entering the playoffs with 21 wins and defeating the Zamboanga Family’s Brand Sardines in game one of the finals.

 

Will Nueva Ecija become the New MPBL Champion?

Led by Hesed Gabo with 22 pts, six rebounds, and six assists, the Vanguards took the first game in the five-game series. The final score was 75-81, a six-point lead.

Former Philippine Basketball Associations (PBA) players John Byron Villarias, Michael Mabulac, and William Bill Jr. McAloney each had 19, 14, and 11 in the narrow victory against Zamboanga. 

Family’s Brand Sardines, on the other hand, had Chris Dumapig leading all scorers with 15. Former PBA players Jaycee Marcelino and Jhaymo Eguilos also provided a little firepower, giving their team 12 and 11 points.

The first quarter was a close fight between the two division champions, scoring in favor of the Rice Vanguards 14-15. But before halftime, Zamboanga took a one-point lead, 30-29.

The Vanguards led by as much as eight points, 48-56, courtesy of Mabulac with 15.40 seconds remaining. Zamboanga tried to erase the deficit in the final quarter, but Nueva Ecija closed the game 75-81.

The Family’s Brand Sardines tried to tie the score in Game 2 but failed. Marcelino led all scorers, having 26 points, seven rebounds, and four assists, but his efforts were wasted. The Rice Vanguards won the round via a narrow margin of 75-74, courtesy of two free throw shots from Gabo in the last 7.7 seconds of the match.

Can Nueva Ecija quickly finish off Zamboanga?

Nueva Ecija now has a 2-0 lead against Zamboanga, with a do-or-die match about to happen on December 9. However, it will be nerve-wracking for the former to finish their opponent, especially on their home turf.

It will also not be easy to make since Family’s Brand Sardines defeated Batangas City Embassy Chill, the 2018 MPBL Anta Rajah Cup champion. Expected to heat up is Jayvee Marcelino. He underperformed in Game 1, scoring only 11 pts in 4-11 shooting.

There is much to anticipate in games 2 to 3 in MPBL’s Finals. Zamboanga might make a comeback, or Nueva Ecija might grab the crown via a sweep.

Read more: New MPBL North Division Champion: Nueva Ecija Rice Vanguards

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