Cedric de Joya came up big in the clutch as Batangas-EAC pulled off an 89-87 upset over pacesetter Centro Escolar University Monday in the 2018 PBA D-League Aspirants’ Cup at Pasig Sports Center.
The diminutive guard accounted for seven of the Generals’ last seven points, including his go-ahead triple that gave his side an 87-85 lead with 42.3 seconds remaining.
Cedric Ablaza split his freebies in the ensuing possession which gave the Scorpions a glimmer of hope, but Joseph Manlangit’s jumper in the last 10.6 ticks was ruled as a long two as Jerome Garcia put on the finishing touches in the stunning win.
“At least our preparation materialized. We just worked and we’re happy that we were able to recover,” said a relieved coach Ariel Sison as Batangas-EAC had to fight its way back from an early 24-point deficit, 20-44, in the second quarter.
CEU’s hopes for an outright semifinals berth remains alive, though, but it needs Marinerong Pilipino and Akari-Adamson to drop their final assignments to move up to the top two.
Already out of the playoff race, Batangas-EAC reclaimed some semblance of pride as it improved to 2-8 for the conference.
De Joya finished with 18 points for Batangas-EAC, 10 coming in the payoff period, on top of three assists, two rebounds, and two steals, while Philip Tampoc came off the bench and poured 15 markers and nine boards.
Garcia put up 13 points, four rebounds, and four assists, Chris Dela Peña also had 13 markers and six boards, and Ablaza got a double-double of 12 points and 12 rebounds for the Generals.
Judel Fuentes carried CEU (8-3) with 26 points and six rebounds, while Manlangit got 16 markers and six boards.
The Scorpions had to play the game without Rod Ebondo, who was still nursing a back injury, and Orlan Wamar, who was ejected late in the first quarter for throwing the ball at an opponent.
BATANGAS-EAC 89 — De Joya 18, Tampoc 15, Dela Peña 13, Garcia 13, Ablaza 12, Maguliano 10, E. Mendoza 5, Altamirano 3, Bugarin 0, Corilla 0, Estacio 0, Martin 0, J. Mendoza 0.
CEU 87 — Fuentes 26, Manlangit 16, Cruz 15, Aquino 8, Arim 6, Veron 6, Saber 4, Caballero 3, Galinato 3, Chan 0, Guinitaran 0, Opiso 0, Wamar 0.
Quarters: 18-36, 45-54, 68-74, 89-87.