1: 30 p.m. -- FEU -NRMF vs. EAC
DEFENDING champion Macway Travel Club brought down upset-conscious Emilio Aguinaldo College, 92-81, to gain atleast a tie for one of two outright semis berths in the 2016 MBL Open basketball tournament at the EAC Sports Center in Manila.
Macway used two decisive scoring runs bridging the third and fourth quarters to finish off EAC and clinch its fourth win in six matches in the seven-team tournament sponsored by Smart Sports, Ironcon Builders, Star Bread, Dickies Underwear and Gerry's Grill.
American Mike Harry, Dan Natividad and ex-PBA stars Bonbon Custodio and Larry Rodriguez provided the firepower for Macway, which is seeking its second straight title under consultant Braulio Lim, coach Daniel Martinez and owners Erick and Cathy Kirong
Harry finished with 22 points, most of them from the shaded area while being guarded by EAC's promising big man Rustan Bugarin.
Natividad added 14 points, Custodio contributed 13 and Rodriguez had 10 for Macway, which led .44-38 at halftime.
Bugarin and Jerome Garcia carried the scoring cudgels for the Ariel Sison-mentored Generals with 18 points apiece.
Jeanu Gano added 11 points for the Generals, who lost two games in a row after sweeping their first three assignments.
Juju Baustista, who averaged 16 points a game in EAC's three victories against Air Force, San Jose Builders and Jamfy-Secret Spices, was held to only seven points.
Actually, Macway dictated the tempo of the game and took several double-digit leads behind the inside games of Harry, Custodio and Jeff Sanders and the outside shooting of Natividad and Pol Santiago.
But EAC, which is using the tournament as part of its build-up, kept the game interesting behind its never-say-die attitude.
In the second game, Philippine Air Force won by forfeiture over Jamfy to improve to 3-2 in a tie with EAC.
Handled by coach Alvin Zuniga and supported by PAFCG Lt.Gen. Edgar Fallorina, Col. Elpidio Talja and LTC Nestor Etis, the Jet Force need only to win their final assignment against San Jose Builders to earn a tie.
Tournament format is single-round elimination with the top two teams advancing to the semis outright with twice-to-beat advantages.
The No. 3 team and the No. 6 team and the No. 4 team and No. 5 team will dispute the remaining two semis berths in a pair of knockout matches.
The championship is a winner-take-all encounter.
Macway (92) -- Harry 22, Natividad 14, Custodio 13, Rodriguez 10, Santiago 8, Sanders 7, Espinosa 6, Marquez 3, Sta. Cruz 3, Mangaran 3, Laude 3, Reyes 0.
EAC (81) -- Garcia 18, Bugarin 18, Gano 11, Bautista 7, Martin 5, Aguas 5, Altiche 4, Estacio 4, Diego 4, Mendoza 3, Gonzales 2, Umali 0, Natividad 0.
Quarterscores: 28-16, 44-39, 71-53, 92-81.
Philippine Air Force won by forfeiture over Jamfy.