By Dugout Philippines
PASIG--Racal fortified its stronghold of the top spot in the 2017 PBA D-League Aspirants' Cup, edging Wang's Basketball, 89-84, Thursday at Ynares Sports Arena.
Kent Salado took charge late, firing eight of the Tile Masters' last 14 points in the final five minutes to help his side get a five-point breathing room and ultimately fend off the Couriers.
He ended up with 14 points, two rebounds and two assists for the pacesetting Racal (4-0).
"I warned them not to take Wang's for granted. Hirap na hirap kami sa kanila," said coach Jerry Codinera.
Jackson Corpuz notched a double-double of 18 markers, 14 boards, three blocks, and two steals as his efforts kept the Tile Masters afloat in the back-and-forth contest for the first three-and-a half quarters.
Sidney Onwubere also got 10 points and six rebounds in the victory.
Wang's fell to its third straight defeat and dropped to a 1-3 card.
Rey Publico topped the Couriers with 16 points and six rebounds, while Marlon Gomez got 14 markers and seven boards.
In the second game, Cafe France moved to joint second place, pummeling Jose Rizal University, 75-57.
With their veterans leading the way, the Bakers fired a 17-2 third quarter salvo to turn a 38-36 halftime edge to a commanding 55-38 lead midway in the third quarter.
The advantage would further balloon to 21, 73-52 courtesy of Aaron Jeruta's three free throws with1:53 to play.
"The difference is our approach. We mostly tried to give chances to our rookies, but the disadvantage there is they had a hard time adjusting. It's a good thing that our veterans stepped up," said coach Egay Macaraya.
Rod Ebondo just missed out on a double-double with 21 points, nine rebounds, and three blocks, while Paul Desiderio once again nailed three treys to end up with 13 markers, eight boards, and three assists.
Cafe France rose up to a 3-1 slate, forcing a tie for the second spot with Tanduay.
Jhaps Bautista topped JRU with 13 points and eight rebounds, but his side fell to a 2-2 card after absorbing its second straight loss.
Racal 89-Corpuz 18, Salado 14, Onwubere 10, Nambatac 9, Mangahas 8, Dagangon 6, Cabrera 5, Gabayni 5, Torres 5, Gabawan 3, Terso 3, Flores 2, Gumaru 1, Apreku 0
Wang's 84-Publico 16, M. Gomez 14, Tambeling 13, Labing-isa 10, Brana 8, Enriquez 6, Salcedo 6, Tayongtong 5, Montuano 3, Regalado 2, C. Gomez 1, Juruena 0, King 0
Quarterscores: 21-13, 43-43, 66-64, 89-84
Cafe France-CEU 75-Ebondo 21, Desiderio 13, Casino 7, Calisaan 6, Gabriel 5, Jeruta 5, Veron 5, Faundo 4, Arim 3, Manlangit 2, Wamar 2, Aquino 0, Guinitaran 0
JRU 57-Bautista 13, Poutouochi 12, Pontejos 11, Grospe 9, Teodoro 4, Bordon 3, Lasquety 2, Santos 2, Sawat 1, Estrella 0, Lopez 0, Mate 0
Quarterscores: 16-19, 38-36, 55-45, 75-57
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