By Jerome Lagunzad
(Pasig City Sports Center)
2 p.m. — Zark’s Burgers vs Wang’s
4 p.m. — JRU vs Perpetual Help
Marinerong Pilipino blew hot and cold but still had enough to survive Batangas-Emilio Aguinaldo College, 92-78, yesterday and put its 2018 PBA D-League Aspirants Cup campaign back on track at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig City.
After a fine start that saw them lead as high as 21 points in the first half, the fancied Skippers apparently went in disarray after the turn as the Generals employed a suffocating full-court pressure that kept them within striking distance.
Good thing for Marinerong Pilipino, Rian Ayonayon came through just when he was needed the most with 16 points, including six straight that restored their lead back to 84-73 and kept Batangas at bay with more than four minutes to play.
Although his wards stopped a two-game bleeding and improved their mark to an even 2-2 slate, Skippers coach Koy Banal was hardly pleased, saying: “I’m still waiting for our breakout game. It takes a while before we can get that. I just keep on reminding them to play the right way and with the right attitude.”
Earlier, former pro league draftee Samboy De Leon and big man Alfred Batino took charge down the stretch to help Che’Lu Bar and Grill dodge AMA Online Education’s stunning bullet for an 83-79 victory.
Diminutive guard RK Ilagan sizzled from beyond the arc with six triples and finished with a team-high 22 points but it was the veteran duo of De Leon and Batino who provided the big blows in the crunch that enabled the Revellers to hold off the Titans in a tight finish.
De Leon redeemed himself from a poor offensive outing, tallying seven of his 21 points in the final frame, capped by a mid-range jumper that virtually pegged the final count with 91 seconds left to play.