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Big Chill, Fruitas keep hopes alive

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FRUITAS’ Jaypee Mendoza (left) and Gene Belleza give McLean Sabellina of Boracay Rum a hard time receiving a pass in yesterday’s game. AUGUST DELA CRUZ

Big chill arrested a late meltdown while Fruitas banked on Pong Escobal’s huge fourth-quarter game as both squads survived separate thrillers yesterday to keep their quarterfinal hopes alive in the PBA D-League Aspirants Cup at Filoil Flying V Arena in San Juan.

Ryan Buenafe and Mar Villahermosa fueled Big Chill’s strong start as the Superchargers tripped Café France, 76-71, to stay in the hunt for the twice-to-beat quarterfinal bonus with a 6-4 record.

Buenafe and Villahermosa had 14 points each to lift the Superchargers to leads by as many as 21 points, 46-25, before spearheading another end-game effort when the Bakers trimmed their advantage to just four points, 61-65.

In the second game, Escobal exploded for 20 points in the final quarter as the Shakers rallied to a 73-61 victory over Boracay Rum.

Escobal knocked in all of Fruitas’ points, including 10 straight, in a decisive 12-2 run that boosted the Shakers ahead, 65-57, from a 53-55 deficit in the final five minutes.

“We were able to find ways to win,” said coach Nash Racela after Fruitas improved to 5-5 even minus injured center Ola Adeogun. “Our lineup heavily relies on Ola, Carlo (Lastimosa) and Pong, so with one guy out, it was hard.”

Escobal topscored with 22, while Jan Colina also came through with a double-double of 13 markers and 11 rebounds.

Both Café France and Boracay Rum bowed out of contenction with 4-6 cards.

“The players really wanted to get back on the winning track,” said coach Robert Sison after Big Chill snapped a two-game skid. “We needed this win because there are so many teams below us who are catching up.”

The scores:

First Game

BIG CHILL 76–Buenafe 14, Villahermosa 14, Bringas 9, Canlas 8, Montilla 7, Brondial 6, Collado 6, Semira 5, Lozada 3, Santos 2, Nuyles 2, Holstein 0.

CAFE FRANCE 71–Jamon 16, Lopez 13, Parala 11, Pogoy 10, Batino 6, Gallardo 5, Dela Cruz 5, Knuttel 3, Mendoza 2, Saitanan 0, Magbitang 0, Antipuesto 0.

Quarters: 21-12, 47-28, 64-53, 76-71

Second Game

FRUITAS 73—Escobal 22, Colina 13, Lastimosa 9, Dela Rosa 7, Caram 4, Silungan 4, Terso 4, Antonio 4, Mendoza 2. Belleza 2, Escueta 2, Pascual 0.

BORACAY RUM 61—Sabellina 14, Cabrera 10, Siruma 9, Eguilos 8, Viernes 7, Ilagan 6, Arellano 3, Monteclaro 2, Taha 2, Acibar 0, Bandaying 0.

Quarters: 13-19, 33-29, 47-51, 73-61


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