Angeles City—Manila unleashed its latest acquisition and went business as usual in bringing down Marikina, 107-96, in the MPBL Lakan Season at the Angeles University Foundation Arena here.
It was the fifth straight victory of the Stars, who now improved their win-loss record to 7-1 and firmed up their grip on the solo second spot in this tournament put up by Senator Manny Pacquiao with PBA legend and former MVP Kenneth Duremdes serving as commissioner.
The Stars introduced Gabby Espinas Wednesday and immediately, the PBA journeyman saw action, ending up with seven points and grabbed 10 rebounds. He joined a team already stacked in talent.
A six-time PBA champion, Espinas even took the backseat on offense as six players ended up in double figures for the Stars led by Carlo Lastimosa.
Lastimosa drilled in 22 points, while Gian Abrigo produced 13. Marvin Hayes and Aris Dionisio tallied 12 apiece, Chris Bitoon had 11 and Marvin Lee chipped in 10 as the Stars showed their firepower to the hilt in dealing the Shoemasters their seventh loss in as many games.
Marikina matched its seven-game losing skid last season and remained as one of only two winles squads in the tournament.
Pampanga and Bulacan carved out similar victories in the other games.
The host squad Giant Lanterns, supported by ADG Construction, edged the Valenzuela Classic, 77-74.
Mark Cruz delivered four crucial free throws and came away with a big steal that helped the Giant Lanterns in getting back on track the win column.
Pampanga improved its win-loss record to 5-3 and stayed on sixth spot of the tough northern division.
Bulacan nipped Binan City, 87-82, as Gwynne Capacio returned and provided the spark for the Kuyas.