EMILIO Aguinaldo College pulled an ace from its sleeve in Cameroonian import Hamadou Laminou and escaped with a thrilling come-from-behind 82-77 win over FEU-Nicanor Reyes Medical Foundation in the 2016 MBL Open basketball tournament at the EAC Sports Center in Ermita, Manila.
Laminou, who was inserted to the line-up at the last minute, played a superb all-around game to power the Generals to their fourth win in six matches and the top spot in the seven-team, single-round tournament.
The 6-10 native of Yaounde, Cameroon, scored 14 of his 17 points in the second half and led a strong defensive effort that enabled the Ariel Sison-mentored Generals to pull the rug from under the Tamaraws.
Alex Aguas, Jerome Garcia and Sidney Onwubere provided ample scoring support for EAC, which is competing in the tournament as part of its annual pre-season build-up.
Aguas finished with 12 points, six each in the third and fourth quarters.
Garcia, the team’s leading scorer in the first five games, added 10 points, while Onwubere had eight.
Former Purefoods mainstay Jerwin Gaco topscored for FEU-NRMF with 13 points, followed by Fil-Canadian Clay Crellin, Al Francis Tamsi and Francis Camacho with 12 points apiece.
Cameroonian center Moustapha Arafat was limited to only six points.
MBL commissioner Anthony Sulit said EAC is assured of the top spot even in case of a four-way tie for first place with FEU-NRMF, Philippine Air Force and Macway Travel Club based on the FIBA tiebreak system.
Air Force will close out its elimination round schedule against winless San Jose Builders.
Wang’s Ballclub won by default over Jamfy-Secret Spices to finish at No. 5 with an even 3-3 win-loss record.
EAC (82) -- Laminou 17, Aguas 12, Garcia 10, Onwubere 8, Diego 7, Martin 7, Bugarin 5, Altiche 4, Natividad 3, Mendoza 3, Bautista 2, Gonzales 2, Estacio 1, Rosales 1.
FEU-NRMF (77)-- Gaco 13, Crellin 12, Tamsi 12, Camacho 12, Gabayni 8, Arafat 6, Asoro 5, Manalo 4, Tan 3, Raymundo 2, Banzali 0, Zamora 0
Quarterscores: 9-14, 17-30, 53-56, 82-77.
Wang’s Ballclub won by default over Jamfy.