MANILA, Philippines -- Despite being undermanned, Italiano's Homme frustrated McDavid-La Salle Araneta, 123-107, for a winning debut in the 2019 PBA D-League Foundation Cup on Monday at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig City.
Marlon Gozum scored a game-high 34 points on 16-of-21 shooting, while grabbing 7 rebounds as Italiano's Homme nabbed the win despite playing with just 8 players.
"Committed 'yung ibang players namin sa teams nila. Siyempre ang hirap mag-ensayo 'pag hindi kumpleto, but give credit to them," said coach Allen Ricardo.
Paolo Pontejos produced 29 points, five assists, and four rebounds, Marlon Monte had 19 points and 11 rebounds, Francis Munsayac had 17, and Jan Colina contributed 14 markers and 13 boards as the starters did the heavy lifting for Italiano's Homme.
"Kahit walo lang kami, sabi ko sa kanila limahan naman 'tong laro na 'to eh. Ang importante 'yung mental toughness. Kahit walo lang sila, they still gave their all," said Ricardo.
Italiano's Homme overcame a 78-64 deficit in the third quarter, using a 26-7 scoring explosion to take a 90-85 lead with 2:31 on the clock.
McDavid-La Salle Araneta clawed back to regain the lead, 101-100, with 7:20 left to play, but that would be their last stand as Italiano's Homme responded with a 23-6 blitz to finish the game.
Nigerian center Henry Iloka had 35 points and 18 rebounds to lead the Stallions, who have now dropped to 0-2.
Eduardo Doroteo Jr. had 20 points and six rebounds in the McDavid-La Salle Araneta loss.
Jonas Briones had 15 points and five assists, as Lois Batungbakal contributed 11 markers.
ITALIANO'S HOMME 123 -- Gozum 34, Pontejos 29, Monte 19, Munsayac 17, Colina 14, Roy 8, Dela Cruz 2, Labastida 0.
MCDAVID-LA SALLE ARANETA 107 -- Iloka 35, Doroteo 20, Briones 15, Batungbakal 11, Medina 10, Balbuena 7, Correche 4, Lorenzo 0, Esteban 2, Aquino 1, Pena 0, Ombao 0.
Quarter scores: 27-33, 60-68, 94-90, 123-107.
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