By Jerome Lagunzad
(JCSGO Gym, Cubao)
2 p.m. – Gamboa Coffee Mix vs Perpetual Help
4 p.m. – JRU vs Wang’s Basketball-Letran
J-Jay Alejandro rediscovered his touch just in time as Go for Gold pulled the rug from top title contender Centro Escolar University, 91-89, in overtime last night to get back on track in the 2018 PBA D-League Aspirants Cup at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig City.
Hardly a factor in regulation, the 6-foot-1 Alejandro drilled in a pair of triples in the extra five-minute session, including a go-ahead conversion for a 90-87 lead, while Jimboy Pasturan and Senegalese center Clement Leutcheu provided the hustle plays to help the Scratchers stop the erstwhile streaking Scorpions.
“I like the way how we fought,” said Go for Gold coach Charles Tiu, satisfied no end with how his wards recovered their bearings in the crunch as they jacked up their record to an even 3-3 mark, moving up to solo sixth spot.
“I told the guys that we needed to have a statement win. If we want to go somewhere, we have to beat the contenders.
This goes to show that if we play our game, we can compete with the best.”
Congolese center Rod Ebondo continued his dominance with 34 points and 25 rebounds while Orlan Wamar added 16 points but CEU still ran out of steam in the closing seconds, leading to its first loss after four matches, dropping to second spot behind idle Akari-Adamson (4-1).
The Scorpions kept themselves in the thick of the fight after Pat Aquino scored on a putback, cutting their deficit to just one at 89-90 with 31.7 seconds to play.
Scratchers forward Matt Salem missed an open triple but Pasturan tracked down the leather for a crucial offensive rebound and, in the process, was fouled by Wamar, time down to just 5.5 seconds.
Pasturan, off another foul given by Wamar, missed his two free throws but Yankie Haruna hustled down for another big recovery and managed to save the leather to Pasturan anew, with four-tenths of a second left.
Pasturan made the front-end of his freebies then deliberately missed his second throw as time ran out.
Earlier, towering Prince Eze flashed his dominant form of old yesterday as Perpetual Help got back on track at the expense of Batangas-Emilio Aguinaldo College, 82-75.
The 6-foot-11 Nigerian center appeared he’s back at his full strength as he flirted with a triple-double with 24 points, 15 rebounds and eight blocks, giving the Altas the imposing inside presence that the Generals struggled to deal with throughout.