MANILA, Philippines – CJ Perez displayed exactly why he was the MVP of the PBA D-League Aspirants' Cup on Thursday, as he towed Zark's Burger-Lyceum of the Philippines University (LPU) to a 98-90 triumph over Che'Lu Bar&Grill-San Sebastian College in Game 2 of their best-of-3 finals series.
Perez contributed 15 points, seven rebounds, and four assists as the Jawbreakers knotted up the series and forced a winner-take-all Game 3, set for Tuesday.
"Again, we just have to battle our way. Just to have the peace of mind that we know we did our best, we'll be at peace whatever the outcome is," said Lyceum coach Topex Robinson.
Jaycee Marcelino added 13 points off the bench, while Cameroonian center Mike Nzeusseu had a double-double of 11 points and 11 boards, and added two assists and two blocks.
MJ Ayaay finished with 11 points, six rebounds, and five assists.
More than the offense, however, it was Zark's-LPU's defense that got it done for them. They held Che'Lu to only 37% shooting from the field, while converting 44% of their own field goals.
It also helped that the Jawbreakers got off to a strong 21-8 start, which set the tone of the game. They went on to lead by 20 points, 52-32, at the half.
The Revellers made a late run behind Allyn Bulanadi and RK Ilagan in the fourth quarter, closing in to within six points, 96-90, with 6.7 seconds left to play.
However, they would not get any closer as Jayvee Marcelino nailed a pair of free throws to ice the game.
"For us, it's about us inspiring others and we'll not get away from that. We'll never get out of our mantra of honoring the game, playing it the right way, value integrity, and do the right things," said Robinson.
Game 3 is scheduled on Tuesday, 4 p.m., still at Ynares Sports Arena.
Bulanadi led Che'Lu-San Sebastian with 23 points and 10 rebounds, while Ilagan shot 2-of-7 from threes to pour 13 markers.
Samboy de Leon, the team's Game 1 hero, was limited to just five points on a 2-of-10 shooting.
ZARK’S BURGER-LYCEUM 98 — Perez 15, Jc. Marcelino 13, Ayaay 11, Nzeusseu 11, Baltazar 10, Yong 9, Pretta 8, Ibañez 7, Caduyac 6, Jv. Marcelino 6, Tansingco 2, Serrano 0.
CHE’LU BAR AND GRILL-SAN SEBASTIAN 90 — Bulanadi 23, Ilagan 13, Batino 12, David 12, Costelo 11, Calisaan 7, De Leon 5, Ablaza 4, Siruma 3, Capobres 0, Collado 0, Faundo 0, Taganas 0.
Quarters: 27-16, 54-34, 75-56, 98-90.
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