(Ynares Sports Arena)
12 noon -- Akari vs. UPHSD
2 p.m. -- JRU vs. Zark’s
JUDEL Fuentes nailed the dagger triple in the final 2.9 seconds as Centro Escolar University edged
Wang’s Ballclub-Letran, 79-75, to inch closer in nailing the first outright semifinals berth in
the PBA D-League Aspirants’ Cup yesterday at the JCSGO Gym.
A Jerrick Balanza three gave the Couriers their last lead at 75-72 before Scorpions guard
Orlan Wamar countered with a triple of his own -- his 26th point of the match -- to forge the
game’s final deadlock at 75.
CEU then forced Wang’s to commit a shot clock violation with 18.5 seconds left, paving the
way for Fuentes’ heroics.
The Scorpions reclaimed the top spot with an 8-2 card. CEU will clinch the automatic semis
slot with a victory over also-ran Batangas-Emilio Aguinaldo College on April 2.
Earlier, Marinerong Pilipino stretched its win streak to six and bolstered its outright
semifinals incentive bid with a 99-83 conquest of Gamboa Coffee Mix-St. Clare.
The Skippers raced to a 31-16 lead and held on for their seventh win in nine contests.
Marinerong Pilipino moved in a tie with idle Akari-Adamson in the race for the coveted No.
2 ranking in the playoffs. The Falcons own the tiebreaker in case they ended up tied with the
Skippers at the end of the eliminations.
“We’re on a roll and we want to keep on rolling going to the playoffs. Hopefully we can
bring this winning attitude to our next games,” said Marinerong Pilipino coach Koy Banal.
Billy Ray Robles came through with 19 points, two rebounds and three assists, Alvin Pasaol
had 12 markers, while Mike Ayonayon and Vince Tolentino each scored 11 points for the Skippers.
Aris Dionisio (17 points and 10 rebounds) and Mali’s Mohammed Pare (13 markers and 20
boards) posted double-double outings but this was not enough for the Coffee Lovers to move up in
the quarterfinals race.
With a 5-4 card, Gamboa now share fifth spot with Wang’s and Zark’s Burgers-Lyceum of the
Philippines University. The Coffee Lovers hold the tiebreaker against the Jawbreakers, but still
have to face the Couriers on Tuesday to determine their playoff fate.