By Jerome Lagunzad
(Ynares Sports Arena)
1 p.m. – Batangas vs Che’Lu Bar and Grill
3 p.m. – AMA Online Education vs JRU
Backup Egie Boy Mojica did his best impersonation of top gunner Jerrick Ahanmisi down the stretch as Akari-Adamson turned back Perpetual Help, 101-83, yesterday to gain a share of the lead in the 2018 PBA D-League Aspirants Cup at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig City.
Initially tasked to put the clamps down on Altas skipper Edgar Charcos, Mojica caught fire from beyond the arc as he drilled in three of his five triples that sparked the Falcons’ telling 20-9 run, turning a three-point lead into a comfortable 90-76 advantage with less than five minutes to play.
The surprise explosion of Mojica, coupled with the timely buckets made by fellow new recruits Jerom Lastimosa and CJ Catapusan, enabled Akari-Adamson to notch its fourth straight win and jack up its mark to 8-2, tying idle Centro Escolar University on top while boosting its bid for a Top 2 finish that dangles an outright semis seat.
“Jerrick struggled a bit but some of those guys stepped up,” said Falcons coach Franz Pumaren, referring to the younger brother of Rain or Shine guard Maverick Ahanmisi who went scoreless in the crunch after racking up 14 points in the first three quarters.
In the other match, Zark’s Burgers flexed enough muscles to beat also-ran Jose Rizal University, 91-81, and inch closer towards claiming a quarterfinal berth.
The win was a fitting birthday present to Zark’s Burgers team manager Bernard Yang.
Cameroonian Mike Nzeusseu finished with 22 points and 11 rebounds while CJ Perez added 16 points, five rebounds and three assists as the Jawbreakers did enough in the second half to pull away from the Heavy Bombers for their sixth win in 10 starts, good for solo fifth spot.