By Jerome Lagunzad
(Ynares Sports Arena)
1 p.m. – Che’Lu Bar and Grill
3 p.m. – Batangas-EAC vs CEU
Title favorite Go for Gold overcame a sluggish finish to hold off AMA Online Education, 86-83, yesterday and seize the solo lead in the 2018 PBA D-League Foundation Cup at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig City.
Former pro Gab Banal sizzled with a game-high 28 points, including their team’s final six points, while adding 15 rebounds, four assists and two blocks, practically doing a little bit of everything to help the Scratchers survive the Titans’ late rally.
Ateneo product Kris Porter added 14 points while veteran guard James Martinez tallied 10 points to help Go for Gold earn a big follow-up to its 88-75 win over Batangas-Emilio Aguinaldo College last Monday.
However, Scratchers mentor Charles Tiu was far from pleased especially after his wards squandered a 14-point lead in the third period and flirted with disaster in the face of the Titans’ last-ditch fightback.
“We’ll take the win but it’s not a nice win for us,” said Tiu. “Basically it’s still like a pre-season (game) for us. No disrespect to other teams, but the chemistry is still not there. My players are still trying to figure things out.”
Fil-Canadian big man Owen Graham came through with his own monster performance of 31 points anchored on an efficient 13-of-16 shooting from the field and hauled down 24 rebounds that went down the drain with AMA’s second consecutive setback.
Earlier, Centro Escolar University gave veteran mentor Derrick Pumaren a rousing coaching comeback with a 94-78 victory over Aspirants Cup bridesmaid finisher Che’Lu Bar and Grill.
Unheralded Pierce Tyron Chan emerged as the unlikely source of production with 21 points, 11 of those coming in the third period where the Scorpions uncorked a decisive 19-6 run that enabled them to pull away from the erratic Revellers.
Heady playmaker Orlan Wamar provided the offensive punch off the bench with 19 points, spiked by four of the team’s 12 made triples.
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