JUSTINE BALTAZAR dazzled with 31 points and 21 rebounds as the Pampanga G Lanterns outlasted defending champion Davao Occidental-Cocolife, 87-84, Monday night in Game 1 of their best-of-three finals series in the Manila Bankers Life-Pilipinas Super League Pro Division Second Conference Dumper Cup at the Bren Z. Guiao Convention Center in San Fernando, Pampanga.
Before a wild and roaring and pro-Pampanga crowd, Baltazar’s layup in the final minute stretched the G Lanterns’ lead to 87-76 that proved to be too much despite the Tigers going on an 8-0 windup.
Supporting Baltazar were King Caralipio, Louie Sangalang and Michael Garcia, who scored 13, 11 and 11 points, respectively, for the troops of coach and Pampanga governor Dennis “Delta” Pineda who moved within a win of the crown in the league presented by Dumper party-list, Winzir, and Skin Care Depot, co-presented by SCD Cosmetics, and supported by NET 25, Adcon, Wcube Solutions Inc., MDC, Unisol, Don Benitos, and Finn Cotton, with Philippine Basketball Association and Gilas Pilipinas great Marc Pingris serving as commissioner.
The G Lanterns will try to finish off Davao Occidental in the second game Thursday at the RMC Gymnasium in Davao City.
A deciding Game 3, if necessary, will be played Sunday back in Pampanga.
Wilson scored 25 points and grabbed four rebounds for the Tigers, while Gab Dagangon had 13 points.
The league feted its Mythical Team aptly called “Super Five” at halftime. They are Batang Kankaloo-Caloocan’s Gabby Espinas of, San Juan’s Orlan Wamar, Boracay’s Jaymar Gimpayan and Mac Cardona and Davao Occidental’s John Wilson.
Cardona was also named Inspirational Player of the league.