PASIG CITY – AMA Online Education pulled off an amazing come from behind win over Blustar Detergent, 81-78, in continuing action from the 2016 PBA D-League Foundation Cup at the Ynares Sports Arena Monday (June 27). The Titans thus tabbed their first win of the tournament after opening with four consecutive defeats.
Rashawn McCarthy hit the crucial go-ahead triple with 1:15 to play, 80-77. Ting Chung Hong then split his free throws at the 31-second mark to threaten slightly, 78-80.
The Titans then bungled their next possession, opening the door for the Dragons. However, Ma Chee Khuen missed a hurried triple and Choo Wei Hong was slapped a deliberate foul on Rey Publico, who could only convert one free throw and keep the Dragons hopes alive but it was not meant to be as they threw the ball out of bounds with a second left, sealing their fate.
“We are slowly forming the team that we want as we have found our leader in Rashawn,” said Coach Mark Herrera. “Our switch to a zone defense in the second half was a key factor in turning the game around.”
McCarthy actually made 11 of his team-high 20 points in the fourth period as AMA slowly crept back from a 12-point deficit late in the third period, 52-64. Jay-R Taganas was a force underneath as he battled the much taller Dragons frontline with 16 points and 11 rebounds.
Juami Tiongson made up for his three-point first half by scattering 10 points in the third period on route to a total of 20 points, five rebounds and four assists but it was not enough as the Dragons collapsed in the fourth. Wong Yi Hou paced the Dragons with 21 points and five rebounds.
The Dragons will play their seventh straight game on Tuesday (June 28) against Tanduay Rhum at the Ynares Sports Arena before returning to Malaysia for two weeks to regroup and retool for their remaining five games in the elimination round. The Rhum Masters got the better of Blustar in their first encounter, 94-71, last June 13.
How They Scored:
AMA ONLINE EDUCATION (81) – McCarthy 20, Taganas 16, Jordan 13, Siruma 9, Publico 7, Arambulo 7, Bragais 5, Jo Montemayor 4, Je Montemayor 0, Ragasa 0, Magpantay 0, Calma 0, Gutierrez 0.
BLUSTAR DETERGENT (78) – Wong 21, Tiongson 20, Kuek 15, Yeo 11, Ma 10, Ting 1, Teo 0, Choo 0, Palma 0.
Period Scores: 19-23, 36-36, 59-67, 81-78.