MANILA, Philippines – Zark's Burger-Lyceum of the Philippines University squandered a 14-point second half advantage but managed to overcome Wangs Basketball-Letran, 95-93, in the 2018 PBA D-League Aspirants' Cup on Monday at the Pasig Sports Center.
MJ Ayaay and Jaycee Marcelino conspired in crunch time, with the latter knocking down the go-ahead floater with 1:03 to go to give the Jawbreakers a two-pojnt lead.
Their defense then clicked, as they stifled the Couriers' numerous attempts in the final minute. The Jawbreakers sealed the deal when they forced Bonbon Batiller to settle for a tough fadeaway jumper in the final possession.
"I made the mistake. It's my responsibility because I wanted to give the others a chance to play. It almost turned into a loss and it's my responsibility," said Zark's Burger coach Topex Robinson.
Mike Nzeusseu led his side with 27 points, 11 rebounds, three steals, and three blocks, while CJ Perez had 18 markers, six boards, five dimes, and two steals for Zark’s-Lyceum, which racked its fourth straight win to rise to a 4-1 slate.
Ralph Tansingco also came up big, going 4-of-6 from threes to finish with 16.
His third-quarter explosion allowed the Jawbreakers to gain a bit of a breathing room, taking a 77-67 lead at the end of the frame which further ballooned to 14, 81-67 early in the fourth quarter.
Wangs-Letran, though, made a huge run and even tied the game at 93, thanks to a Batiller undergoal stab with 1:25 left.
"We have to give credit to Wangs. They really wanted to win it badly," said Robinson. "But now, I know that we know how to finish games. These close games, we learn from our mistakes and it makes us sharper."
Bong Quinto paced the Couriers with 22 points, 10 rebounds, and three assists, while JP Calvo had 16 markers, five dimes, and three boards in their first loss of the tourney.
ZARK’S BURGER-LYCEUM 95 — Nzeusseu 27, Perez 18, Tansingco 16, Ayaay 11, Jv. Marcelino 8, Serrano 6, Jc. Marcelino 4, Baltazar 3, Santos 2, Caduyac 0, Cinco 0, Ibañez 0, Marata 0.
WANGS BASKETBALL-LETRAN 93 — Quinto 22, Calvo 16, Fajarito 13, Ambohot 11, Batiller 7, Muyang 6, Publico 6, Mandreza 5, Trinidad 3, Balanza 2, Taladua 2, Balagasay 0.
Quarter scores: 18-20, 46-45, 77-67, 95-93.
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