Games Thursday (Ynares Arena)
1 pm. – MP Hotel vs Jumbo Plastic
3 p.m. – Kera Mix vs Tanduay Light
Hapee got a huge game from its reserves and the Fresh Fighters survived a tough challenge from the MP Hotel Warriors, 87-81, yesterday in the PBA D-League Foundation Cup at The Arena in San Juan.
Art dela Cruz scored 15 points off the bench, taking charge in the third quarter as the Aspirants’ Cup champions rallied in the second half after shaky first half. Dela Cruz scattered 10 points in the period as Hapee outscored MP Hotel, 28-21, in the period and took a 62-60 lead entering the fourth.
Ola Adeogun and Baser Amer also had standout performance coming off the bench, teaming up with Chris Newsome in the fourth quarter as the trio provided the finishing touches as in a tightly fought match to seal the victory that earned the Fresh Fighters a twice-to-beat advantage in the quarterfinals.
Cagayan Valley also clinched a twice-to-beat advantage in the next round by subduing league-leader Cebuana Lhuillier, 102-95, in the second game.
The Rising Suns led by as many as 14 points but have survived a mighty charge by the Gems down the stretch to close out the elimination round with a 6-3 mark.
“I’m always challenged when playing against Cebuana. I don’t why but they bring out the best in me,” said Don Trollano, who finished with 25 points including 4 of 8 shooting from behind the arc.
The Rising Suns also got splendid efforts from Michael Mabulac (22 points and 17 rebounds), Abel Galliguez (16 points), Jason Melano (11 points) and Eric Salamat (10 points) to clinch the crucial win.
The Gems pulled within 85-87 on a 3-pointer by Roider Cabrera with 4:27 left but Randy Dilay responded a three in the next play and Mabulac scored inside and made two free throws to keep the Gems at bay.
Norberto Torres tallied 23 points while Mo Tautuaa and Simon Enciso had 18 apiece for the Gems, who lost the last two to close out the eliminations with a 7-2 record.
“Just to make the playoff is our wish and I thought the guys really put a lot of effort out there to win this game. Right now everyone is really making a big sacrifice and I couldn’t ask for more,” said Hapee coach Ronnie Magsanoc.
Hapee 87 –Dela Cruz 15, Adeogun 14, Newsome 13, Amer 11, Thompson 9, Rosario 6, Mendoza 6, Elorde 4, Villahermosa 3, Koga 2, Long 2, Sorela 2, Romero 0.
MP Hotel 81 – Custodio 17, Mirza 17, Nambatac 15, Cruz 9, Acidre 8, Quinto 5, Dela Pena 4, Masaglang 2, Colina 2, Mendoza 2, Apreku 0.
Quarters: 14-13; 34-39; 62-60; 87-81.
Cagayan Valley 102 – Trollano 25, Mabulac 22, Galliguez 16, Melano 11, Salamat 10, Dilay 8, Celada 5, Tayongtong 3, Magat 2, Flores 0, Santos 0, Rogado 0.
Cebuana Lhuillier 95 – Torres 23, Tautuaa 18, Enciso 18, Zamar 14, Cabrera 11, Mangahas 6, Corpuz 5, Vosotros 0, Bautista 0.
Quarters: 21-29; 49-38; 72-68; 102-95.