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D-League: Manganti, Che’lu escape Pasaol, Letran in thriller



MANILA, Philippines – The Che’lu Revellers eked out a 96-94 classic against the Petron-Letran Knights in the 2019 PBA D-League at the Ynares Sports Arena on Thursday, February 28. 

Former Adamson captain Sean Manganti – who had an explosive 24-point debut for Che'lu – went head-to-head with good friend and UAAP rival Alvin Pasaol, who reinforced Letran with a huge 33-point, 10-board double-double. 

Although the veteran-laden Che’lu squad opened up an 11-point lead, 47-36, late in the 2nd quarter after a Chris Dumapig layup, the Letran youngsters stormed back to retake the lead early in the 3rd, 53-51, courtesy of a patented post-up by NCAA Rookie of the Year Larry Muyang. 

Later on, Letran used a timely 10-1 run to extend the gap to 7, 71-64. However, the Revellers didn’t back down and tied the game at 71, ending with a buzzer-beating triple by former Adamson guard Rob Manalang.

A furious back-and-forth then ensued in the payoff period, ending deep in the clutch after a split trip to the line by league veteran Jeff Viernes for the 96-94 lead.

The returning Jerrick Balanza had a chance to steal it for Letran with a game-winning three, but it clanked off, giving Che'lu its first win of the season.

It was also the first loss of debuting Letran coach Bonnie Tan, who replaced Jeff Napa after the NCAA Season 94 playoffs. 

Viernes' maturity helped the Revellers down the stretch as he finished with 18 points off the bench. On the other end, Muyang added 14 markers and 9 boards while Balanza chipped in 6 points in his first game since his successful brain tumor surgery.

Metropac-San Beda,  Batangas-EAC up

Earlier, Metropac-San Beda walloped Wangs Basketball, 94-70, to go up 2-0 in the Foundation Group.

Calvin Oftana starred for the Movers with 17 points and 7 rebounds, as young point guard Evan Nelle did the damage with 11 markers, 7 assists and 6 boards. James Canlas also got 10 points, 6 boards and 4 dimes in the win. 

Movers coach Boyet Fernandez praised his young bloods, led by Nelle and Canlas, for showing maturity amid the reigning NCAA champions’ rare rebuilding period.

"My rookies are so skilled. I'm happy with the way they're stepping up. The guys coming off the bench are proving that they are capable of playing," he said, while also giving special mention to bench guys Prince Etrata and Peter Alfaro. 

Oftana orchestrated Metropac-San Beda's 13-2 run to start the 4th quarter as it grabbed an 81-59 advantage midway through the frame. 

Former FEU Tamaraw guard Axel Iñigo led the Couriers with 21 points, 4 rebounds, 4 assists and 2 steals, as ex-UP Maroon big man Gelo Vito had 15 points and 7 boards in the loss.

Finally, in the opening contest of the day, the Batangas-EAC Generals easily dispatched McDavid in a wire-to-wire 79-57 triumph.

The Generals went on a 12-0 start and rode the hot hands of Earvin Mendoza, who fired 25 points and guided the Generals to their first win of the tourney. Clark Derige contributed 16 points and 4 rebounds, while Allan Martin added 11 markers, 4 assists and 3 boards. 

Former NU Bulldog Rev Diputado carried the newcomer McDavid with 16 points and 5 rebounds. 

The Scores 

First Game:

Batangas-EAC 79 -- E. Mendoza 25, Derige 16, Martin 11, Maguliano 9, Cruz 4, Estacio 4, Dela Pena 2, Tampoc 2, Oppong 2, Boffa 2, De Joya 2, J. Mendoza 0, Corilla 0, Cadua 0, Taywan 0. 

McDavid 57 - Diputado 16, Sorela 9, Martinez 8, Lozada 7, Menor 4, Caranguian 4, Colina 4, Monte 3, Medina 2, Melano 0, Villanueva 0, Cruz 0.

Quarters: 17-12, 36-26, 54-43, 79-57.

Second Game:

Metropac-San Beda 94 - Oftana 17, Soberano 11, Nelle 11, Canlas 10, Tankoua 8, Bahio 8, Etrata 7, Cuntapay 6, Doliguez 6, Obenza 5, Alfaro 3, Tagala 2, Visser 0, Carino 0. 

Wangs 70 -- Inigo 21, Vito 15, Tolentino 11, Estrella 7, Santos 6, Gerero 4, Lim 2, De Mesa 2, Lucas 2, Tongco 0, Bulawan 0, Singontiko 0, Brojan 0.

Quarters: 21-20, 45-38, 68-57, 94-70.

Third Game: 

Che’lu 96 - Manganti 24, Viernes 17, Suerte 15, Bautista 12, Dumapig 11, Bringas 9, R. Manalang 3, Taganas 2, P. Manalang 2, Siruma 0.

Petron-Letran 94 - Pasaol 33, Muyang 14, Reyson 10, Ambohot 7, Sangalang 7, Balanza 6, Caralipio 6, Sta. Ana 5, Taladua 4, Pamulaklakin 2, Pambid 0, Galvelo 0. 

Quarters: 25-19, 49-44, 71-71, 96-94.