By Jerome Lagunzad
(Ynares Sports Arena)
11 a.m. – AMA Online vs Go for Gold
1 p.m. – Che’Lu Bar and Grill vs Marinero
Guard Cyrus Tabi preserved new acquisition Michael Mabulac’s solid debut by making the game-clinching lay-up at the buzzer as Batangas-EAC stunned erstwhile favored Go for Gold, 87-85, for its second straight victory in the 2018 PBA D-League Aspirants Cup yesterday at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig City.
The 6-foot-4 Mabulac capped his solid 19-point, 11-rebound with a big defensive stop on a driving Scratchers gunner James Martinez, poking the ball away and igniting a decisive transition attack led by Tabi just as time expired much to the delight of the Generals’ bench.
The morale-boosting win came on the heels of another close call, a 97-95 win over AMA Online Education last week, and enabled Batangas-EAC to join idle Marinerong Pilipino at the fourth spot with similar 3-3 records.
Meantime, Che’Lu Bar and Grill scored a vengeful 105-80 victory over previous tormentor Centro Escolar University to seize the solo lead.
Heady playmaker Jeff Viernes provided the offensive punch off the bench with 22 points, spiked by six triples, while JayR Taganas had a double-double of 10 points and 10 rebounds as the Revellers asserted their full dominance over the Scorpions.
Aside from avenging a 94-78 loss to CEU in their first round encounter last month, Che’Lu Bar and Grill racked up its fifth straight victory and further boosted its billing as the tourney’s team-to-beat following its bridesmaid finish in the Aspirants Cup.
“I was not expecting this win knowing that Go for Gold is very good as a team and also individually. I think we were just lucky to get this one,” said Generals coach Oliver Bunyi, who was nonetheless thrilled with the performances of their fresh recruits that also included guard Bacon Austria and center Daniel De Guzman.