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San Juan seals top seed in MPBL playoffs with rout of Mindoro

MANILA -- San Juan locked in the best record of the MPBL Lakan Season with a 114-68 rout of Mindoro at the Bahayang Pag-asa Gym in Valenzuela on Saturday night.

The Knights made quick work of the Tamaraws, erupting for 70 points in the first half alone before sealing the 46-point rout.

San Juan ended its regular season campaign at 26-4, and due to its 84-65 win against Southern Division-leading Davao Occidental (25-4) in their finals rematch in Iloilo City on Jan. 18 that served as the tiebreaker, San Juan will have homecourt advantage throughout the postseason even if Davao Occidental wins against Marikina on Monday night at the San Andres Sports Complex here.

"Ginawa lang namin yung sistema namin kaya kami nandito sa (We just did our system, and that is why we are here at the) No. 1 spot," said Knights coach Randy Alcantara.

John Wilson registered 16 points, six rebounds, and six assists for San Juan, which will face eighth-seeded Pasay in the first round of the Northern Division Playoffs later this month.

Larry Rodriguez added 13 points and nine boards, while Joseph Ubalde chipped in 12 markers and nine rebounds.

Rodel Vaygan tallied 17 points and eight rebounds for Mindoro, which dropped to 9-20.

Meanwhile, Batangas City moved closer to a Top 4 finish with a 77-66 road win at Valenzuela.

The Athletics pulled away from the Classic after going on a crucial 9-0 run midway through the fourth quarter that opened a 15-point gap, 69-54, which the former did not let go until the end.

Batangas City won despite the absence of Rey Suerte and Jaydee Tungcab, who are currently with Gilas Pilipinas Men.

"We were without key players but still got a win. It is a culture that we are creating: next man up," said Coach Woody Co.

Jaymo Eguilos made 18 points, seven rebounds, two assists, and two blocks for Batangas City, which moved to a tie with Zamboanga for fourth place in the South at 18-11.

Batangas City holds the tiebreaker over Zamboanga due to its 77-67 win earlier in the season, which means the former can lock in the fourth seed if it defeats Cebu on Wednesday at the Caloocan Sports Complex.

Ryusei Koga added 13 points, seven rebounds, seven assists, three steals, and one block.

Teytey Teodoro was relatively quiet in his return to the Athletics after winning the PBA Governors' Cup title for Barangay Ginebra last month, only finishing with 10 points and three rebounds.

Ford Ruaya posted 14 markers, eight boards, and one steal for Valenzuela, which ended its campaign at 11-19.

In the other game, Rizal scored its second straight win, edging Quezon City, 72-62, in a battle between also-ran squads.

The Scores:

First Game

San Juan-Go for Gold 114 -- Wilson 16, Rodriguez 13, Ubalde 12, Estrella 11, Clarito 11, Ayonayon 10, Gabawan 8, Victoria 7, Wamar 6, Aquino 6, Tajonera 5, Marquez 4, Pelayo 3, Buñag 2, Bonifacio 0.

Mindoro-JAC Liner 68 -- Vaygan 17, Baracael 15, Abanes 14, Osicos 5, Mandreza 4, Acedillo 4, Axalan 4, Bangeles 2, Alulod 1, Astrero 1.

Quarterscores: 37-15, 70-33, 90-48, 114-68.

Second Game

Rizal-Xentro Mall 72 -- Raflores 13, Vidal 12, Gregorio 12, Leynes 11, Casajeros 10, Benitez 7, Lacastesantos 6, Saliente 1, Bacay 0, Bautista 0.

Quezon City-WEMSAP 62 -- Costelo 17, Tayongtong 11, Mabayo 9, Boholano 8, Olayon 5, Atabay 4, Barua 4, Derige 4, Medina 0, Morillo 0, Santiago 0, Castro 0.

Quarterscores: 16-12, 26-23, 50-40, 72-62.

Third Game

Batangas City-Tanduay 77 -- Eguilos 18, Koga 13, Teodoro 10, Santos 10, Bragais 8, Sara 8, Melano 6, Rogado 2, Lopez 2.

Valenzuela-Carga Backload Solutions 66 -- Ruaya 14, Gimpayan 13, Hubalde 10, Asuncion 8, Kalaw 5, Pagcaliwangan 5, Acuna 3, Varilla 2, Mabigat 2.

Quarterscores: 16-14, 42-33, 57-51, 77-66. (PNA)

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