MANILA, Philippines - Nate Matute came off the bench to fire 13 points and power Erase Xfoliant to a 79-68 victory over Informatics in the elimination round of the PBA D-League Aspirants’ Cup at the Arellano University gym in Legarda yesterday.
Matute made his presence felt late in the second quarter where he came in to scatter seven points and spark the team’s surge en route to victory, their second straight after dropping a 30-point blowout to fancied three-time champion NLEX.
Jet Vidal shot 19 points, Macky Acosta added 14 markers, highlighted by three triples, while Marlon Gomez finished with a double-double effort of 10 points and 11 rebounds for the Erasers, who trailed in the opening period but dominated their rivals the rest of the way.
After Acosta knocked a trey early in the second quarter, the Easers suddenly turned cold, went without a field goal in the next 4:30 minutes and found themselves trailing Informatics, 31-28.
But coach Aric del Rosario sent in Matute, who responsoed with a triple then followed it up with a 10-foot jumper before anchoring a fastbreak as Erase Xfoliant outscored Informatics, 12-2, and stormed ahead, 40-33, at the turn.
Moncfrief Rogado scored 18 points and Brayan Cruz contributed 17 points and 12 rebounds for the Icons.
The Erasers went on a 24-12 run in the third, capping it with four triples to post the biggest lead at 66-45 on a basket by Evan Allen.
Informatics fell to its second straight defeat.
In the other game, Cagayan Valley bounced back from last week’s defeat to Erase Xfoliant as it trounced Café France, 85-70, to improve to 3-1.
Raymund Almazan and Christopher Eximiniano combined for 29 points as the Rising Suns broke away from a tight three-point contest at the turn by outscoring the Bakers, 26-15, to post a whopping 17-point lead.
“I’m glad we were able to bounce back. But I’m not pleased. Every time we had a lead the players have a tendency to relax and that’s dangerous,” said Cagayan Valley coach Alvin Pua.