JR Alabanza came up with the huge stops in the end game as Marinong Pilipino shocked Cignal HD, 66-65, to notch its breakthrough win in the 2017 PBA D-League Foundation Cup Thursday at Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig.
The 6-foot-5 center held the fort in the paint late as he stopped Jason Perkins’ gutsy drives, with the last being the game-saving rejection as the Skippers completed their fightback from 15-points down.
Alabanza finished with six points and five rebounds, but blocked seven shots for Marinerong Pilipino in the upset.
The Skippers almost threw the game away twice after Achie Iñigo threw an errant crosscourt pass which got intercepted by Oping Sumalinog and after Harold Arboleda stole the ball off Dave Moralde’s bad inbound pass with 7.4 seconds to play.
Fortunately for Marinerong Pilipino, the Hawkeyes could not convert on those two chances, with Alabanza denying both of Perkins’ drives on the other end.
“We wanted to compete until the end,” said coach Koy Banal. “We had lots of veterans who stepped up today and reminded the team that we needed to compete.”
Mark Isip topped the Skippers with 15 markers and six rebounds before fouling out in the final 1:33 of the game, while Iñigo got a double-double of 13 points and 10 boards.
Marinerong Pilipino crawled its way back from a 37-22 hole in the first half and regained its footing thanks to the Isip-led 24-point third quarter charge, 56-54, before they got things done on the defensive end in the payoff period.
“Everything happens for a reason. Maybe, we needed to learn how to win in the defensive end,” said Banal.
Perkins scattered 15 points and eight rebounds for Cignal (2-2), while Raymar Jose got 11 markers and 14 boards.
MARINERONG PILIPINO 66 – Isip 15, Iñigo 13, Marata 11, Moralde 10, Alabanza 6, Lopez 5, Javelona 3, Publico 2, Sargent 1, Nicholls 0, Javillonar 0, Gumaru 0.
CIGNAL HD 65 – Perkins 15, Jose 11, Sumalinog 11, Batino 6, Raymundo 5, Arong 4, Potts 3, Sara 3, Arboleda 3, Villarias 2, Bringas 2, Cahilig 0, Atkins 0.
Quarters: 14-19, 32-43, 56-53, 66-65.