Cebuana Lhuillier tightens defense in 2nd half to stifle Boracay RumBy Mark Giongco
MANILA, Philippines—No longer the powerhouse team it once was, Cebuana Lhuillier made the most out of what it has in turning back Boracay Rum, 86-76, Tuesday in the PBA D-League Aspirants Cup at the San Juan Arena.
With their key players from last season either transferred from another team or turned pro, the Gems got a lift from their new recruits.
“We’re still in the process. We didn’t get big names, we only got role players who want to be big,” said Cebuana head coach Beaujing Acot, whose team lost Yousef Taha, Simon Atkins and Vic Manuel to the PBA draft while Kevin Alas and Terrence Romeo are now with NLEX and Big Chill respectively.
June Dizon, formerly of the Superchargers, came through with 18 points and seven rebounds in just 18 minutes.
Dizon, the six-foot-four power forward, had six points in the final period, four of which in a key stretch that kept Boracay Rum at bay.
James Mangahas also shot 18 points.
Paolo Taha had 25 points while Toto Bandaying contributed 20 markers on a perfect six-of-six shooting from deep in a losing cause.
The Gems led by nine in the closing minutes of the third quarter but quickly Boracay Rum battled back.
“Our problem is our turnover,” a concerned Acot said.
Boracay Rum drew close before Dizon scored back to back inside baskets to extend Cebuana’s lead back to nine, 80-71, with 1:59 left.
“Masaya ako sa defense namin in the second half. We had too many mental lapses in the first half,” Acot said.