D-League: Fuentes drills winner as CEU slips past Wangs-Letran
Judel Fuentes drilled the go-ahead triple with 2.9 seconds remaining to lift Centro Escolar University to a thrilling 79-75 victory over Wangs Basketball-Letran Tuesday in the 2018 PBA D-League Aspirants’ Cup at JCSGO Gym in Cubao.
Keanu Caballero drove to the rack and sucked the Couriers’ defense before dishing the ball out to an open Fuentes on the left corner to break the 75-all deadlock and give the Scorpions a three-point lead in the waning seconds of the game.
Bong Quinto had a chance to respond for Wangs-Letran, but he turned the ball over on the inbounds play before Caballero iced the game with a split from the foul line in the final 1.4 ticks.
“My instruction to Keanu was to just create. When you drive, look for the open man, and exactly right timing, Judel got open,” said coach Yong Garcia on that game-clinching play.
Orlan Wamar fired 26 points built on eight triples, to go with two steals to lead CEU back on top of the standings at 8-2.
Mishaal Veron added 13 markers and eight rebounds, while Oliver Arim also got 13 points, six boards, and two assists in the victory.
The Scorpions averted the huge meltdown after holding a 17-point lead to start the game, 36-19.
It also allowed the CEU locals to shine as Rod Ebondo missed the game due to a back injury.
“I challenged my players and told them this is your time to step up and your time to shine. I’m happy that they responded,” Garcia said.
Jerrick Balanza led Wangs Basketball-Letran with 25 points on a 10-of-14 shooting from the field, while Quinto had 16 markers and 14 boards in the loss.
The defeat also complicated the Couriers’ playoff chances as they now sit tied for fifth with Gamboa-St. Clare and Zark’s-Lyceum with their 5-4 slate.
CEU 79 — Wamar 26, Arim 13, Veron 13, Manlangit 7, Guinitaran 6, Caballero 5, Fuentes 5, Cruz 4, Aquino 0, Chan 0, Opiso 0, Saber 0, Uri 0.
WANGS BASKETBALL-LETRAN 75 — Balanza 25, Quinto 16, Muyang 13, Calvo 9, Ambohot 4, Fajarito 4, Publico 4, Balagasay 0, Batiller 0, Mandreza 0, Taladua 0, Yu 0.
Quarters: 26-12, 45-32, 59-59, 79-75.