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MPBL: Pasay, Rizal, South Cotabato post wins

MANILA, Philippines – The Pasay Voyagers and Rizal Xentromall Golden Coolers took different routes toward victories in the 6th MPBL (Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League) Season elimination round on Tuesday at the Cuneta Astrodome in Pasay City.

The Voyagers withstood the Iloilo United Royals' final assault to prevail, 81-77, in the nightcap while the Rizal Golden Coolers stormed ahead in the third quarter before cruising to a 71-59 victory over Quezon City TODA Aksyon in the opener.

Ahead, 77-68, on a triple by Warren Bonifacio, the Voyagers nearly tumbled after the United Royals unloaded nine points against a free throw by Laurenz Victoria, 78-77, with still 1:12 to go.

AJ Coronel, however, came to the Voyagers' rescue with a free throw and a lay-up that forged their fifth win in seven starts, the same card as the Golden Coolers.

Pasay greeted the third quarter with a 10-point cluster triggered by Warren Bonifacio to pull away, 54-35, and were never headed by Iloilo, which dropped to 2-5.

Bonifacio wound up with 22 points, 10 rebounds and four assists to clinch best player honors over Victoria, who pooled 18 points, six rebounds, five assists and two steals. Coronel and Patrick Sleat contributed nine points each for the Voyagers.

Iloilo got 19 points and eight rebounds from Clint Doliguez; 12 points and nine rebounds from CJ Cansino; and 11 points each from CJ Catapusan and Mark Nonoy.

Rizal led by as far as 51-31 behind Alwyn Alday, who tallied 17 points, 10 rebounds and three assists. He was backed by Kraniel Victoria with 14 points, nine rebounds, six assists and five steals; and homegrown John Apacible with 11 points and 11 rebounds.

Quezon City dropped to 3-4 as only homegrown Rafael Are broke twin digits with 11 points. Jason Ballesteros came through with nine points plus 11 rebounds; while Jerie Pingoy pooled eight points, five rebounds and two steals.

South Cotabato weathered Negros'repeated assaults to tally an 81-74 victory in the second game and climb to a 5-3 card.

Kyle Tolentino posted 23 points, including seven triples, eight rebounds and two assists to spearhead the Warriors, who also got a lift from Christian Fajarito with 16 points and seven