By Jerome Lagunzad
(Ynares Sports Arena)
1 p.m. – AMA Online vs Batangas
3 p.m. – Marinerong Pilipino vs CEU
Go for Gold overcame a hot-shooting Trevis Jackson and gutsy Marinerong Pilipino in a tense finish yesterday, 93-88, to sustain a flawless start in the 2018 PBA D-League Foundation Cup at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig City.
Forward Gab Banal tallied a team-high 24 points, half of them coming from beyond the arc, while veteran guard Jai Reyes added 21 points, including a pair of crucial free throws with eight seconds to play to help the Scratchers hold off the Skippers’ last-ditch fightback.
More importantly, Go for Gold secured its fourth consecutive victory and kept its stranglehold of the solo lead while dealing Marinerong Pilipino another tough loss for an even 2-2 mark in a tie with Centro Escolar University from third to fourth spots.
The lefty Jackson sizzled with 34 points on an efficient 12-of-22 shooting from the field and single-handedly kept the Skippers in the thick of the fight as they kept within striking distance at 88-91 with 34 seconds to play.
However, Marinerong Pilipino’s comeback hopes went down the drain after Fil-Am guard Rob Manalang turned the ball over in what could be a potential game-tying attack, leaving them with no recourse but to foul Reyes who calmly sank his charities to the delight of Go for Gold faithful.
Earlier, guard Chris Bitoon provided the spark in their telling run in the third quarter as Che’Lu Bar and Grill continued its resurgence at the expense of Batangas-Emilio Aguinaldo College, 78-57.
Bitoon fired eight of his 19 points in the decisive period where the Revellers turned a slim 36-37 deficit to a big 16-point advantage, paving the way for a cruising finish against the fading Generals.