MANILA, Philippines—Air21-JRU got a much-needed win over Café France, 66-62, Tuesday to keep its bid for a quarterfinals slot going in the PBA D-League Aspirants Cup at the JCSGO gym in Cubao, Quezon City.
Dexter Maiquez had 15 points, including the Heavy Bombers’ final four points in the last 40 seconds.
“We have three games left and we’re not far behind in the standings for a playoff spot,” said JRU head coach Vergel Meneses.
JRU, which chalked up its second straight win for a 3-4 mark, twice posted a comfortable lead but squandered it on both occasions.
Michael Mabulac sank two free throws that put JRU ahead, 60-51, with 6:06 left but Café France battled back to tie the game at 62 on a basket by Roger Pogoy with 2:10 remaining.
“So far OK naman morale ng mga bata. Siguro yung panalo namin dito will carry over to our next game,” Meneses said.
Jeckster Apinan shot 14 points on top of 11 rebounds and three blocks to fill the void left by John Lopez.
Lopez took an elbow on the face and suffered what could be a broken nose in the first half and did not return after just logging two minutes.
Pogoy paced the Bakers with 15 points to go along with eight rebounds, two steals and a block.
Marion Magat posed problems for JRU with his length. Jens Knuttel added 11 points, five rebounds and nine assists, including a lob pass to Magat that gave Café France a 36-30 lead, early in the third period.
Magat finished with 12 points and 11 rebounds.
The Bakers succumbed to their second straight setback and fell to 4-4.