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Cebuana gains D-League semis

Games Tomorrow (Ynares Arena)
2 p.m. – Cebuana Lhuillier vs NLEX
4 p.m. – Jumbo Plastic vs Blackwater Sports

Cebuana Lhuillier teetered on the brink of elimination but found a way to get out of a fix to advance to the semifinals of the PBA D-League Foundation Cup.

The Gems battled back from a 10-point deficit in the fourth with a suffocating defense that held the Big Chill Superchargers to just eight points in the last 10 minutes to escape with a 67-60 victory in the deciding game of their quarterfinal duel on Tuesday at the Meralco Gym.

Bambam Gamalinda finished with a game high 21 points and Alvin Padilla added 14. The duo made big plays in the fourth while helping the Gems outscore the Superchargers, 19-3, in the last 8:27 minutes.

“My players are not really winners. But they have proven themselves. At least got over the hump,” said Cebuana Lhuillier coach Boyzie Zamar after the thrilling win that earned them the right to face the NLEX Road Warriors.

The best-of-three semifinals start on Thursday at the Ynares Arena in Pasig City.

Cebuana Lhuillier practically struggled with its shooting all game but made them when they needed it the most.

It was a frustrating loss for the Superchargers, who had the Gems on the ropes when Adrian Celeda knocked a three for a 57-47 advantage with 8:27 remaining. But they lost their poise as the Gems became physical.

They eventually started missing shots after shots as the Gems clamp down on defense that got all Big Chill’s shooters well covered. Cebuana Lhuillier held Big Chill to 3 of 16 shooting in the last 8:27.

Mar Villahermosa tallied 14 points and Rodney Brondial had 12 for the Superchargers, who shot 34 percent for the game and a woeful 19 percent in the fourth.

The Gems, who has never reached this far since challenging NLEX for the inaugural championship of this same conference four years ago, picked up some momentum by scoring 12 straight points. Padilla, who also did well shellacking the streak shooting Janus Lozada, ended that run with two free throws that tied the count at 57-all then scored a layup to put the Gems ahead 59-57 with 3:54 remaining.

Big Chill got the lead back at 62-60 on Villahermosa’s 3-pointer with 3:29 left but the Superchargers would never score the rest of the way. Gamalinda’s trey a minute later put the Gems ahead to stay 62-60.

Cebuana Lhuillier 67 – Gamalinda 21, Padilla 14, G. Banal 9, Arellano 8, Acibar 6, Ilad 5, Sarangay 2, Zamar 2, Leynes 0, Dilay 0, J. Banal 0, Mangahas 0.

Big Chill 60 – Villahermosda 14, Brondial 12, Apinan 6, Celada 6, Lozada 5, Marquez 4, Heruela 4, Santos 4, Canlas 3, Bonifacio 2, Miranda 0.

Quarters: 17-18; 33-39; 46-52; 67-60.