Cebuana, JRU bolster drive
Gems, Bombers thwart rivalsBy Jasmine W. Payo
Philippine Daily Inquirer
CEBUANA Lhuillier and Jose Rizal University kept their semifinal hopes alive as the two underdogs won by the slimmest of margins yesterday in the PBA D-League Aspirants Cup.
The Gems slipped past Cagayan Valley, 84-83, while the Bombers survived another thriller against Big Chill, 63-61, to forge a pair of do-or-die games for the remaining semifinal berths.
Paul Zamar scored on a runner with 20 ticks left as the Gems completed their comeback from a double-digit deficit against the Rising Suns in the first quarterfinal match at Filoil Flying V Arena in San Juan.
Gab Banal drilled a personal-best 21 points, including a key triple that tied the game at 78 with four minutes to go, while Zamar finished with 14 markers, five rebounds and four assists.
“I think this team just prefer knockout matches,” said coach Beaujing Acot, whose Gems also faced a must-win game on the last day of eliminations last week to clinch the last quarterfinal berth.
Jeckster Apinan and Michael Mabulac, meanwhile, nailed a free throw each inside the final 26 seconds to tow the Bombers past the Superchargers in the second game.
Khasim Mirza shot 12 points and Dexter Maiquez had 11 to lead the Bombers’ balanced charge.
“We played good defense in the closing seconds,” said JRU coach Vergel Meneses.
JRU will try to overcome Big Chill’s twice-to-beat advantage at 2 p.m. tomorrow, while Cebuana Lhuillier attempt to do the same against third-ranked Cagayan Valley in the second game at 4 p.m. tomorrow.
CEBUANA LHUILLIER 84—Banal 21, Zamar 14, Martinez 12, Sanga 11, Aguilar 10, Bustos 7, Custodio 5, Mangahas 2, Buensuceso 2, Rowe 0, Sarangay 0, Leynes 0, Dizon 0.
CAGAYAN VALLEY 83—Exciminiano 17, Almazan 15, Bringas 14, Celada 12, Melano 8, Canta 5, Pasculado 4, Cruz 3, Forrester 3, Webb 2, Poligrates 0, Villanil 0, Lao 0, Montemayor 0.
Quarters: 20-23, 42-50, 69-63, 84-83
JRU-AIR 21 63—Mirza 12, Maiquez 11, Pinto 10, Mabulac 9, Ighalo 8, Villarias 5, Apinan 5, Del Rio 3, Paniamogan 0, Lopez 0, Caperal 0, Almario 0, Miranda 0.
BIG CHILL 61—Bringas 10, Collado 9, Brondial 8, Buenafe 8, Montilla 8, Semira 7, Nuyles 6, Montecastro 2, Lozada 2, Canlas 1, Villahermosa 0.
Quarters: 10-15, 24-25, 48-45, 63-61