Gems boost semifinal bidBy Jasmine W. Payo
Philippine Daily Inquirer
Regaining its imposing form in the final quarter, Cebuana Lhuillier turned back Junior Powerade, 90-64, to fuel its semifinal drive in the PBA D-League Foundation Cup Tuesday at the Ynares Sports Arena.
Vic Manuel, last conference’s MVP, helped the Gems get back in the groove in the closing minutes before finishing with a game-high 30 points and seven rebounds.
Marlon Gomez, meanwhile, shone in the clutch by grabbing a crucial rebound before nailing two buffer free throws to lift Erase Plantcenta past Boracay Rum, 69-66, in the first game.
The Gems grabbed solo second with a 6-2 record behind early semifinalist NLEX, which owns an 8-0 card.
Only the top two teams after the eliminations will earn the incentive of an outright entry to the Final Four.
Lester Alvarez also knocked in all of his 15 points from beyond the arc, including four straight triples in the third quarter that kept the Gems ahead of the rallying Junior Tigers.
“We only started working in the fourth quarter. It wasn’t a good start because the intensity was very low,” said coach Beaujing Acot as his Gems also eliminated the Junior Tigers from quarterfinal contention at 2-6.
Allan Mangahas collected 18 points, eight rebounds and four assists to lead the Erasers to a 3-4 record.
The win pushed the Erasers to a sixth-place tie with Cafe France and boosted their quarterfinal bid.
ERASE PLANTCENTA 69—Mangahas 18, Acosta 11, Dizon 9, Gomez 8, Sarangay 6, Vijandre 5, Del Rio 5, Ferreria 4, Vidal 3, Stevens 0.
BORACAY RUM 66—Bandaying 12, Hermosisima 10, Sabellina 10, Siruma 8, Cornejo 8, Abaya 6, Acibar 5, Foronda 5, Morial 2, Eguilos 0, Terso 0.
Quarters: 18-17, 33-30, 52-46, 69-66
CEBUANA LHUILLIER 90—Manuel 30, Alvarez 15, Taha 11, Celada 7, Hayes 6, Lozada 6, Exciminiano 5, Atkins 4, Apinan 4, Almazan 2, Pagente 0, Mangahas 0.
JR. POWERADE 64—Cubo 17, Lopez 12, Padilla 10, Silungan 9, Gamboa 8, Hipolito 4, Juruena 2, Manuel 2, Gingerich 0, Reyes 0, Escueta 0.
Quarters: 24-10, 41-28, 59-52, 90-64