MANILA, Philippines — Fruitas, still sans Ola Adeogun, jumped back into winning ways after disposing of Erase Xfoliant 78-73 Thursday in the PBA D-League Aspirants Cup.
Carlo Lastimosa, meanwhile, continued to be the Shakers’ spark in the offense as he erupted with 30 big points to tow his squad to their second victory.
Lastimosa poured nine of his total output in the pivotal fourth quarter, where Fruitas wrestled with the lead back-and-forth.
A bucket by Jumbo Escueta off a drop by pass by Jan Colina gave the Shakers the lead for good with 1:29 to go, completing their comeback from 11 points down.
Pong Escobal, who has provided stability in the back court since his arrival, added 18 points including a backbreaking trey which tied the game at 71 with 2:33 left.
This was Fruitas’ first victory without the Nigerian center, and head coach Nash Racela was happy with the effort of the squad.
“We’re happy with the win, because their effort was commendable,” Racela told reporters. “Imagine we played against two imports.”
After staring at a double-digit deficit in the second quarter, Fruitas quickly stepped on the gas and reclaimed the lead 56-48 on a bucket by Lastimosa early in the third quarter.
But forward Marlon Gomez caused a lot of problems for the Shakers, as he breathed life into the Xfoliants with 10 points in the third.
Gomez wound up with 20 points and eight rebounds, while Dave Najorda and Nate Matute had eight points apiece for Erase, which is now at 2-3.
The Xfoliants started off blistering on eight straight markers by Gomez and posted a lead as big as 30-19, early in the second quarter.
Femi Babayemi and Nicholas Omorogbe combined for 12 points.
Fruitas 78 — Lastimosa 30, Escobal 18, Colina 9, Escueta 8, Dela Rosa 5, Mendoza 2, Pascual 2, Silungan 2, Terso 2, Caram 0, Belleza 0, Paguia 0.
Erase Xfoliant 73 – Gomez 20, Najorda 10, Matute 10, Allen 9, Vidal 9, Babayemi 7, Omorogbe 5, Arboleda 3, Banal 0, Acosta 0, Stevens 0.
Quarters: 19-26, 40-42; 58-60; 78-73