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Gamboa-St. Clare stuns CEU to bolster playoff bid

Mohammad Pare was all alone for the rebound. PBA Media Bureau
By Dugout Philippines

PASIG--Gamboa Coffee Mix-St. Clare inched closer to its dream to make the postseason, stunning Centro Escolar University, 100-83, on Thursday in the 2018 PBA D-League Aspirants’ Cup at Ynares Sports Arena.

Chris Bitoon tallied 19 points, dished five assist, and had four rebounds off the bench as the Coffee Lovers won for their second time in three days to improve to 5-3 record.

Fil-Am guard Trevis Jackson chalked up 18 markers and three dimes while Aris Dionisio and Mohammed Pare put on a double-double effort. Dionisio registered 15 points and 12 rebounds while Pare had 14 points and 17 boards.

“Yung depensa namin ang talagang nagdikta ng laro,” said coach Jinino Manansala afterwards. “Sabi ko sa mga bata, stick to our gameplan at nag-respond naman sila.”

Gamboa-St. Clare recovered from an early 7-0 deficit and staged a decisive 27-8 run to end the first quarter ahead at 27-15. The Coffee Lovers never trailed after that and extended the advantage to 29-points, 93-64, with 3:52 left in the game.

Things got worse for the Scorpions as CEU coach Yong Garcia decided to keep center Rod Ebondo on the bench for the next three quarters due to bad back.

With three games left in the eliminations, Manansala said they will be aspiring for the No. 3 or 4 spots to earn a twice to beat advantage in the quarterfinals.

Art Aquino tallied 16 points and six rebounds for the Scorpions, who had their four-game winning snapped. However, CEU’s 7-2 mark kept the team on top of the standings and in contention for an outright semifinal berth.

The Scores:

GAMBOA COFFEE MIX-ST. CLARE 100 — Bitoon 19, Jackson 18, Rebugio 16, Dionisio 15, Pare 14, Hallare 11, Alcober 3, Fontanilla 2, Rubio 2, Decano 0, Penaredondo 0.

CEU 83 — Aquino 16, Caballero 12, Fuentes 10, Guinitaran 8, Veron 8, Uri 7, Arim 4, Opiso 4, Wamar 4, Cruz 2, Manlangit 2, Saber 0.

Quarters: 27-15, 51-32, 78-52, 100-83.

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