PASIG CITY – Jumbo Plastic got a major lift from new recruits Marvin Hayes and AJ Mandani to escape past AMA University, 79-78, and boost their chances of advancing to the six-team playoffs of the 2015 PBA D-League Foundation Cup Thursday (May 7) at the Ynares Sports Arena. The Giants now tote a 3-3 win-loss card, good for Fifth Place.
Hayes, who last played for the Hapee Fresh Fighters, hit the marginal free throw with 53 seconds left that broke the 78-78 deadlock. The Titans had a good chance to salvage the contest but Dexter Maiquez and James Martinez failed in their attempts and the final buzzer sounding.
“Marvin is out to prove something after he left his former team,” said Coach Stevenson Tiu. “He was a workhorse today and he and AJ provided the needed leadership and maturity that hopefully will carry us in our remaining games.”
Mandani restored the lead for good to the Giants with a field goal at the 3:04 mark, 72-70. The Titans patiently crept back as Jerramy King hit two free throws to tie the game for the last time, 78-78, and 1:09 on the clock.
Hayes scored 14 of his 22 points in the second half on top of nine rebounds. Mandani followed with 14 points to go with four rebounds and four assists.
Maiquez paced AMA with 25 points, including 19 in the second period, plus seven rebounds. King followed with 14 points and seven rebounds but could only make two free throws in the second half but this was covered up by Martinez’ 13-point output.
In the first game, Mandani’s former teammates at Tanduay Light also enhanced their playoff hopes with a 78-57 scuttling of the MP Hotel Warriors. The Rhum Masters improved to 3-4 but remained just outside the playoff hunt at Seventh Place, half a game behind the 3-3 Giants and Hapee Fresh.
Maintaining their comfortable double-digit leads throughout the first three periods, the Rhum Masters suddenly saw the Warriors threaten on a Jopher Custodio triple to open the final period, 47-53. That proved to be the Warriors’ final salvo as Jaypee Belencion hit three consecutive triples of his own to signal Tanduay Light’s breakaway.
Belencion’s heroics knocked the wind out of the Warriors’ sails as they never recovered. The intensity rubbed on the rest of the team with Aljon Mariano and Lucas Tagarda leading the way with five markers each in stretching the lead further, reaching its largest at the buzzer.
“Our goal was to have a good tournament so we will go all out in our last two games and try to make the quarterfinals,” said assistant coach Jack Santiago who called the shots on behalf of Coach Lawrence Chongson who was unavailable for the game. “Before Coach Lawrence left, he reminded the team to stick to the system and it’s good that they responded well today.”
Belencion led all scorers with 16 points, all coming from the three-point line except for a free throw in the third period. Aljon Mariano had another solid outing with 15 points and 10 rebounds.
Custodio topped the Warriors with 15 points and 11 rebounds. Mark Cruz scored all his 12 points in the first half and was missed in the second half as MP Hotel returned to the bottom of the standings at 1-5.
How They Scored:
TANDUAY LIGHT (78) – Belencion 16, Mariano 15, Sumang 10, Tagarda 9, Rosales 8, Santos 7, Escueta 6, Eriobu 3, Rono 2, de la Paz 2, Jumao-as 0, Ilagan 0.
MP HOTEL (57) – Custodio 15, Cruz 12, Apreku 8, de la Pena 6, Acidre 6, Masaglang 4, Quinto 3, Mirza 2, Nambatac 1, Colina 0, Mendoza 0.
Period Scores: 14-7, 38-30, 53-44, 78-57.
JUMBO PLASTIC (79) – Hayes 22, Mandani 14, Sanga 10, Arellano 6, Perez 6, Tiongson 5, Avillanoza 5, Eguilos 4, Villamor 4, Paniamogan 3, Purdy 0.
AMA (78) – Maiquez 25, King 14, Martinez 13, Taganas 10, Camasura 8, Asuncion 5, Tampus 3, Sison 0, Jordan 0.
Period Scores: 20-12, 44-42, 66-62, 79-78.