MJ Dela Virgen had ice in his veins, pumping three treys in the final five minutes, but Jose Rizal University needed one last heroic from its veterans to gain a 104-103 victory over Go for Gold Tuesday in the 2018 PBA D-League Aspirants’ Cup at Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig.
Paolo Pontejos took the mantle for the Heavy Bombers and scored the go-ahead layup with 7.2 seconds left to keep his side unbeaten through two games after Dela Virgen exploded for 13 points in the payoff period.
“When we got a big lead, we relaxed a bit. But I’m happy that we’re able to recover and the composure of the veterans were there,” said coach Gio Lasquety as his side lost hold of a 99-90 lead in the final 3:41.
The Scratchers had one last gasp to take the game, but returning TY Tang could not find the mark with his three at the buzzer.
Dela Virgen led JRU with 28 points on a 6-of-9 sniping from three to go with his five assists, three rebounds, and two steals.
Pontejos added 20 markers, five dimes, and three boards, while Jeckster Apinan had 16 points, six rebounds, and four assists in the win.
The Heavy Bombers moved up to 2-0, joining Wangs Basketball-Letran on top of the standings.
Justin Gutang was a revelation for Go for Gold (1-1) as he poured 26 points on an ultra-efficient 10-of-11 shooting from the field, while also tallying six rebounds and four assists off the bench.
Matt Salem got 25 markers powered by five treys, while also hauling down nine boards.
JRU 104 — Dela Virgen 28, Pontejos 20, Apinan 16, Esguerra 11, Mendoza 11, Tayongtong 11, Grospe 3, Yu 3, Mvogo 1, De Guzman 0.
GO FOR GOLD 103 — Gutang 26, Salem 25, Dixon 11, Naboa 11, Leutcheu 8, Gaco 7, Alejandro 6, Young 5, Domingo 2, Tang 2, San Juan 0.
Quarters: 27-25, 49-53, 79-79, 104-103.