MANILA, Philippines – The Jose Rizal University Heavy Bombers won a back-and-forth thriller against Go for Gold-CSB by a single point, 104-103, at the 2018 PBA D-League Aspirants Cup in the Ynares Sports Arena, Tuesday, January 30.
It was already a back-and-forth affair from the opening tip well up until the 2nd quarter, when JRU’s #28 sank and and-1 bucket to put the Bombers up 5, 33-28. However, Go for Gold slowly chipped away at the deficit until veteran and fan favorite Jerwin Gaco busted out his pro league bully ball in the post to tie the game once again at 40-all. This led to an offensive surge for the quarter that was only halted by a buzzer-beating three to cut JRU’s deficit to 4 at the half, 53-49.
Go for Gold opened the second half on fire with an 11-4 run consisting of an and-1 bucket from Unique Naboa and corner threes from former NU Bulldogs star duo Jayjay Alejandro and Matt Salem.
With CSB up by 9, 64-53, JRU responded with a huge 21-6 run punctuated by a go-ahead triple and score off a turnover by John Tayongtong to put the Bombers up 74-70. But Salem answered right back with a personal 5-0 run to snatch the lead back for Go for Gold, 75-74. After another back-and-forth sequence that put JRU up by 3, Carlo Young ended the 3rd frame with a tying three at the buzzer to knot the game at 79-all.
No team could pull away from the other until midway through the 4th quarter, when Mark Dela Virgen casually dropped back-to-back treys to extend JRU’s lead to 7, 97-90. In response, Salem and Justin Gutang partnered for a 7-2 run to trim the lead once again by a single mark, 99-98. On the other end, Dela Virgen bombed for another three but Gutang nullified that with a quick bucket of his own.
As JRU clung to a 1-point lead, CSB’s Tyrone Tang was fouled and sank 2 clutch free-throws with 16.9 seconds left in regulation. With no timeouts left, JRU’s Paolo Pontejos took it upon himself and iced the game with a reverse layup. Go for Gold’s game-winner attempt clanked out as the Heavy Bombers escaped with the win.
Dela Virgen led all scorers with 28 points, 3 rebounds, 5 assists and 6/9 three-pointers, with 13 points coming in the 4th quarter alone. Pontejos’ game-winning layup completed a 20-point outing for him to go along with 3 boards and 5 assists. Go for Gold also had two 20-point performances in the losing effort, with Gutang and Salem posting 26 and 25 markers, respectively.
JRU (104) – Dela Virgen 28, Pontejos 20, Apinan 16, Mendoza 11, Esguerra 11, Tayongtong 11, Grospe 3, Yu 3, Mvogo 3, Silvarez 0, Ramos 0, Bordon 0, De Guzman 0, Tobiano 0.
Go for Gold-CSB (103) – Gutang 26, Salem 25, Naboa 11, Dixon 11, Leutcheu 8, Gaco 7, Alejandro 6, Young 5, Domingo 2, Tang 2, Haruna 0, Pili 0, San Juan 0, Belgica 0.
Quarter Scores: 27-25, 49-53, 79-79, 104-103
Standings (as of Jan. 30, 2018)
Gamboa-St. Clare 1-1
Go For Gold-CSB 1-1
Marinerong Pilipino 1-2
Mila’s Lechon 0-2
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