DEFENDING champion Macway Travel Club opened its bid for an unprecedented back-to-back title when it brought down New San Jose Builders, 90-74, in the 2016 MBL Open (Second Conference) basketball tournament at the Rizal Coliseum.
Five players, led by former Lyceum standout Pol Santiago and ex-PBA mainstays Bonbon Custodio and Nino Marquez, provided the firepower in Macway’s opening-day salvo in the tournament sponsored by Smart Sports, Ironcon Builders, Star Bread, Dickies Underwear and Gerry’s Grill.
Santiago scattered 15 points while Custodio and Marquez contributed 11 points for Macway, which played under new coach Daniel Martinez.
Former MBL MVP Jemal Vizcarra and Mark Fampulme added 10 points apiece to complete Macway’s dominant showing.
Santiago, Custodio and Marquez struck repeatedly with clutch baskets that enabled Macway to stave off repeated rallies by San Jose Builders in the third and fourth periods.
Although Macway took several double-digit leads, the Rainier Carpio-mentored San Jose Builders kept the game close and interesting with a never-say die attitude.
Nikko Lao, a 6-3 standout from Manuel Luis Quezon University, and Lucky Boy Palogan led the way for NSJBI with 17 points.
Lao and Allen de la Cruz had four points apiece as NSJBI came charging back to threaten for the last time at 68-73 halfway through the fourth quarter.
But a closing 17-6 run by Macway highlighted by back-to-back triples by Vizcarra sealed the win.
Handled by businessman-sportsman Erick Kirong, Macway is seeking its second straight MBL title this year.
Last May 30, Macway defeated formerNCA A champion Philippine Christian University, 89-83, to win its first MBL crown.
Macway (90) -- Santiago 15, Marquez 11, Custodio 11, Vizcarra 10, Fampulme 10, Mangaran 9, Laude 8, Sta. Maria 6, Reyes 6, Natividad 3, Sta. Cruz 1, Melano 0.
New San Jose (74) -- Lao 17, Palogan 17, Dela Cruz 11, Rivera 10, Sumay 6, Grimaldo 5, Cruz 4, Carpio 2, Padua 2.
Quarterscores: 24-13, 46-34, 61-50, 90-74.