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JRU, Blackwater nail crucial D-League victories

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Blackwater Sports showed the composure its coach expected to keep the No. 2 spot while John Byron Villarias exploded for a league all-time high of 36 points to lift Jose Rizal University in separate games yesterday in the PBA D-League Aspirants Cup.

Rob Celiz buried 20 points and Kevin Ferrer added 17 as the Elite held off Cebuana Lhuillier’s persistent rallies, 91-80, to boost its hopes for an outright semifinal slot with a 6-2 record.

“It was the composure of the players,” said Blackwater coach Leo Isaac. “They already know what we want in situational plays.”

Earlier, Villarias pumped in 21 of his 36 points from three-point range to lead the Heavy Bombers to a 100-64 rout of Fruitas in the first game at Trinity University of Asia Gym.

“Sometimes it really happens that whatever you throw, it just goes in,” JRU coach Vergel Meneses said of Villarias’ record-setting performance. “But it wasn’t only Villarias, everyone contributed. We played good defense.”

Villarias, who shot 7-of-9 from beyond the arc, eclipsed the previous high of 32 points set by Fruitas’ Carlo Lastimosa and Big Chill’s Jopher Custodio.

“I wasn’t thinking about the points, I just wanted to help the team,” said Villarias, a cousin of former PBA cager Bong Ravena.

Extending their streak to three games, the Bombers earned a shot at the quarterfinals with a 4-4 slate that forged a three-way tie at fifth place.

The scores:

First Game

JRU-AIR21 100—Villarias 36, Mabulac 9, Miranda 9, Paniamogan 8, Apinan 8, Pinto 7, Ighalo 7, Maiquez 6, Dela Paz 3, Del Rio 3, Caperal 2, Almario 2, Mirza 0.

FRUITAS 64—Lastimosa 16, Caram 11, Escobal 6, Silungan 5, Terso 5, Koga 4, Colina 4, Belleza 3, Mendoza 2, Dela Rosa 2, Pascual 2, Escueta 2, Antonio 2.

Quarters: 15-12, 47-26, 75-43, 100-64

Second Game

BLACKWATER SPORTS 91—Celiz 20, Ferrer 17, Mazo 13, Fortuna 11, Llagas 7, Chua 6, Mangahas 5, Ciriacruz I. 3, Bagatsing 2, Abdul 2, Ciriacruz G. 2.

CEBUANA LHUILLIER 80—Custodio 17, Buensuceso 13, Banal 11, Bustos 11, Martinez 8, Leynes 8, Rowe 7, Zamar 5, Jamito 0, Sanga 0, Mangahas 0. Suguitan 0, Sarangay 0, Dizon 0.

Quarters: 15-19, 39-33, 66-58, 91-80


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