MANILA, Philippines – The Zark’s-LPU Jawbreakers finally regained their formidable form in emphatic fashion in the PBA D-League Aspirants Cup, drubbing fellow playoff contender Go for Gold-CSB Scratchers, 108-94, at the JCSGO Gym in Cubao, Monday, March 19.
The game was competitive early on, as both teams traded leads until Jerwin Gaco bullied inside for the 5-point Go for Gold lead, 20-15. However, the NCAA finalists suddenly caught three-point fever and began firing from downtown. Jesper Ayaay, JC Marcelino and Wilson Baltazar all waxed hot from the perimeter en route to a quarter-ending 21-3 run for the Jawbreakers, 36-23.
More Ayaay deep shots extended the LPU run to 26-3, 41-23, but CSB responded with a small 10-4 run courtesy of Clement Leutcheu’s post shots to cut the lead to 12, 45-33. However, the Marcelino twins JC and JV employed their trademark offensive boost off fastbreak buckets and LPU once again led big at the half, 63-44.
Much of the same fastbreak blitzes happened in the third, as LPU extended the lead to a game-high 27, 73-46, courtesy of a 10-2 run punctuated by a Mike Nzeusseu slam.
With the game seemingly out of reach, Matt Salem suddenly woke up with back to back threes. Unique Naboa followed his teammate up with another triple in the next possession. Then Salem sank another long bomb, with his National University co-captain Jayjay Alejandro doing the same. His Gilas poolmate Paul Desiderio joined in on the fun and also converted a 4-point play. All of a sudden, LPU’s 27-point lead had evaporated to 9, 97-88, by the fourth quarter. Unfortunately for the Scratchers, their comeback rally fell short as Ayaay and CJ Perez held their ground and kept their distance until the final buzzer.
Perez was his usual MVP self in this game, leading the Jawbreakers with a team-high 23 points to go along with 7 rebounds and 4 assists. His partner-in-crime Nzeusseu tallied a double-double of 21 points and 11 boards. Ayaay and JC Marcelino added 16 and 15 markers apiece.
On the other end, Salem made up for his 3-point first half by finishing with a game-high 24 and going 6/12 (50%) from downtown.Yankee Haruna was quite the opposite, scoring 13 in the first quarter but only finishing with 22. Leutcheu added 12 markers as the last man to score in double figures for the team.
Zark’s moves up to 5-4 for the conference, tied with Che’lu-SSC for the 6th and final playoff spot. Go for Gold tumbles to 4-6, one loss away from elimination.
Zark’s-LPU (108): Perez 23, Nzeusseu 21, Ayaay 16, Marcelino, JC. 15, Prretta 9, Marcelino, JV. 8, Caduyac 6, Baltzar 3, Tansingco 3, Marata 2, Yong 2, Ibanez 0, Santos 0, Serrano 0
Go for Gold-CSB (94): Salem 24, Haruna 22, Leutcheu 12, Desiderio 8, Alejandro 7, Naboa 5, Gaco 5, Gutang 4, Dixon 3, Ocampo 2, Domingo 2, Pasturan 0
Quarter Scores: 36-23, 63-44, 83-66, 108-94
Standings (as of March 19, 2018)
Marinerong Pilipino 6-2
Gamboa-St. Clare 5-2
Go For Gold-CSB 4-6
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