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Pampanga, Bacoor quintets brace for war

MANILA, Philippines, November 25 ------ Expect an all-out war between rulers of the North and South as the battle lines are drawn for the explosive National Finals of the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League (MPBL). After reigning supreme in their respective divisions, Northern king Pampanga and Southern majesty Bacoor lock horns today for Game 1 of their best-of-five finale showdown at the Bren Z. Guiao Convention Center in Pampanga.

The Giant Lanterns and the Strikers are raring to strike the first blow in an anticipated toe-to-toe battle in the first-ever national finals appearance for both sides. “It’s gonna be an exciting finals. It’s gonna be war dahil both teams are first-timers dito sa finals and both are loaded,” said MPBL commissioner Kenneth Duremdes, who was joined by both teams in the official pre-finals presser the other day in Makati City.

Pampanga, led by MVP race frontrunner Justine Baltazar, dominated with an absurd 26-2 record in the North Division before stamping its class anew in the playoffs. With Encho Serrano, John Lloyd Clemente and veteran Arwind Santos also in the fray, the Giant Lanterns swept past Marikina, Caloocan and San Juan in the playoffs to march on to the Last Dance as the heavy title favorites.

Bacoor, for its part, led the South Division with a 23-5 record and only absorbed a single defeat in the playoffs against Iloilo before romping past last season’s runner-up Zamboanga and Batangas via sweep. But the national finale will be a different atmosphere, warned team consultant Allan Trinidad of the Pampanga team headed by chief tactician and Gov. Dennis “Delta” Pineda.



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