PASIG CITY – Batangas scored the last nine points of the game to formally clinch a playoff berth at the 2017 PBA D-League Foundation Cup at the Ynares Sports Arena Thursday (July 27) at the expense of Gamboa Coffee Mix, 95-88. Guard Cedric de Joya and forwards Jhygruz Laude and Jerald Bautista banged in the big baskets for their fifth win in nine games.
Playing coach Leo Avenido just gave the Coffee Lovers the lead for the last time on a triple nearing the last two minutes, 88-86. Gamboa then turned cold as de Joya and Laude forced a series of turnovers that led to easy baskets beginning with de Joya’s three-point play that restored the lead to the Batanguenos for good, 89-88, followed by three more field goals for the final tally.
Standing at only 5’6”, de Joya stood tallest with 11 of his 31 points in the fourth period on top of eight assists to power the victory. He was ably supported by Cedrick Ablaza with 17 points and seven rebounds while Bautista added 15 markers.
“We achieved our goal which is to make the playoffs and the players are continuously learning and improving,” said Coach Eric Gonzales. “It was really a tough journey considering our line-up is not that deep and experienced but we have the full support of management.”
Coach Avenido topped the Coffee Lovers with 22 points on three triples. After scoring 15 points in their previous games this conference, Jett Vidal finally broke out of his slump with 14 points but it was not enough to prevent his side from absorbing their ninth straight setback for a share of the cellar with AMA Online Education and Zark’s Burger at 1-9.
Batangas can still claim a twice to beat advantage in the quarterfinals if they hurdle their final assignment against undefeated league leader Flying V on Tuesday (August 1). They also pray that also-ran Racal Motors play spoiler and upset Centro Escolar University in the day’s opening game.
How They Scored:
BATANGAS (95) – de Joya 31, Ablaza 17, Bautista 15, Ragasa 11, Laude 7, Zamora 4, de la Pena 4, Mendoza 2, Anderson 2, Isit 2, Mag-isa 0, Saitanan 0, Napoles 0.
GAMBOA COFFEE MIX (88) – Avenido 22, Vidal 14, Montuano 12, Jumao-as 12, Parala 12, Acibar 6, Padilla 6, Sarangay 2, Arellano 2, Riva 0.
Period Scores: 23-22, 39-43, 68-64, 95-88.