PASIG CITY – Erstwhile winless sides ZC Mindanao Aguilas and AMA Online Education finally broke into the win column after finishing off separate opponents in the continuation of the 2016 PBA D-League Aspirants Cup at the Ynares Sports Arena Thursday (February 18). Suddenly, four teams at the bottom find themselves with a single victory each, making for a tighter race for the final playoff berths.
The Aguilas took advantage of an undermanned Banco de Oro-NU, 73-67. In the second game, the Titans brushed off the late challenge of Wang’s Basketball, 97-90.
A telling 15-0 run in the second period led by Dexter Garcia and Joseph turned the tide in the Aguilas’ favor, 33-25. The Bulldogs slightly recovered but the Aguilas stayed ahead at halftime, 34-33.
BDO’s campaign hit a big snag as Matt Salem, their top scorer in the first half with seven markers, was banished from the game on his second technical foul with 5:49 to go in the third. Compounding their woes was the early foul trouble on center Alfred Aroga who eventually fouled out with 3:45 remaining in the game with only five rebounds and no points to his name.
Ironically, at was Kenneth Acibar and National University alum Robby Celiz who hit the big shots in the fourth period, including a Celiz basket at the 23-second mark coming off a missed triple by Ralph Tansingco for the final tally. BDO now dropped to 1-3 and remained half a game ahead of the now 1-4 Aguilas.
“During our losing streak, I kept reminding the players to never stop believing, stay loyal to the team and we can rise by learning,” said a very happy Coach Nino Rehji Natividad. “This win is for all the people of Mindanao and the people of Zamboanga City.”
Garcia paced the Aguilas with seven of his 13 points in the second period to with five rebounds. Celiz was next with nine points and five rebounds.
J-Jay Alejandro was the high man for the Bulldogs with 12 points. Mohammad Salim was the only other teammate in twin figures with 11.
Constantly shuffling his active roster in their four losses, Coach Mark Herrera may have found the winning combination. “Our problem has always been the end game but I think we have players who can finish games,” said Coach Herrera.
AMA used a 13-0 run to close out the first period, 29-15, behind RR de Leon, Jam Jamito and Jerramy King. The Titans slowly turned the game into a blowout by the third period, 64-45.
Wang’s did not quit as new recruit John Marco Tayongtong powered a fourth period rally to close in with 3:49 to go, 81-86. King hit a vital triple to douse cold water on Wang’s hopes, 89-81.
Jamito had a monster outing with 24 points, including 10 in the fourth, on top of 18 rebounds. De Leon also had big numbers of 22 points and five rebounds.
James Mangahas led Wang’s with 21 points and 11 rebounds. Clark Bautista and Tayongtong followed with 16 markers each as Wang’s fell to 1-5 and solo occupancy of last place.
Games return to the San Juan Arena on Monday (February 22). BDO will try to make up for today’s loss when they play Phoenix Petroleum-FEU at 2:00 PM followed by CafeFrance-CEU shooting for its sixth straight win against Tanduay Rhum at 4:00 PM.
How They Scored:
ZC MINDANAO (73) – Garcia 13, Celiz 9, Ignacio 8, Nalos 7, Ongteco 7, Acibar 6, Sarangay 5, Jumao-as 5, Julkipli 4, Argamino 4, Villanueva 4, de Guzman 1, Rivera 0, Ferrer 0.
BANCO DE ORO-NU (67) – Alejandro 12, Salim 11, Javelona 9, Rono 8, Salem 7, Perez 5, Diputado 4, Yu 4, Tansingco 4, Labing-isa 3, Aroga 0.
Period Scores: 13-22, 34-33, 59-48, 73-67.
AMA ONLINE (97) – Jamito 24, de Leon 22, King 12, Tampus 11, Alberto 7, Arambulo 6, McCarthy 5, Mendoza 5, Asuncion 5, Hernandez 0.
WANG’S BASKETBALL (90) – Mangahas 21, Tayongtong 16, Bautista 16, Publico 11, Munsayac 9, Jo. Montemayor 8, Acosta 4, Capacio 4, Romero 1, Ilad 0, Tumalip 0, Cueto 0.
Period Scores: 29-18, 52-39, 73-60, 97-90.