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PBA DL: Jumbo holds off Kera five

Games Thursday
Ynares Arena, Pasig City
1 p.m. – MP Hotel vs Liver Marin
3 p.m. – AMA University vs Hapee

Dennis Villamor hit a clutch 3-point shot down the stretch and the Jumbo Plastic Giants held off the rallying Kera Mix Mixers, 78-72, on Monday for their second straight win in the PBA D-League Foundation Cup at The Arena in San Juan.

The Giants led through three quarters, trailed by six with a little over three minutes left before turning their fortunes around with a full court defense that led to five turnovers in the closing minutes.

Kera Mix tied the count at 72 on a Michael Digregorio’s seventh trey with 1:12 left in the fourth quarter. The Giants quickly worked the ball downcourt then went to Villamor, who nailed the go-ahead basket 20 seconds later.

“I thought the players stayed aggressive and didn’t give up even when were down. I thought we also did a good job disrupting their guards (Jeff) Viernes and (Jiovani) Jalalon,” said Jumbo Plastic coach Steven Tiu.

Both teams appeared rusty after the long vacation.

“I really expected that we would be out of rhythm in the first half. But my third stringers delivered,” observed Tiu, who singled out seldom-used Alex Almario as the catalyst of the game.

“I thought he (Almario) did well on both ends. His energy and defense inspired his teammates,” Tiu said.

Almario finished with a team-high 17 points and forced the Mixers to three turnovers down the stretch as the Giants improved to 2-1 (win-loss) record to tie Idle AMA University at second place behind league leader Cebuana Lhuillier (3-0).

Jumbo Plastic 78 – Almario 17, Paniamogan 12, Perez 12, Villamor 10, Khobuntin 8, Sabellina 7, Tingson 4, Avillanoza 4, Uguilos 2, Rosales 2.

Kera Mix 72 – Digregorio 21, Viernes 10, Saitanan 8, Parala 8, Jalalon 7, Ruaya 5, Gabawan 4, Jamito 4, Gil 3, Agovida 2, Canta 0.

Quarters: 22-18; 40-35; 55-52; 78-72