Rich Guinitaran drilled six triples to lead Centro Escolar to a tight win over Gamboa Coffee Mix.
Centro Escolar University staved off a furious comeback attempt of upset conscious Gamboa Coffee Mix in the last three minutes of 2017 PBA D-League Foundation Cup to eke out a 100-96 win and inch closer to a playoff spot Monday at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig City.
Rich Guinitaran waxed-hot from the rainbow territory with his clutch treys while Mark Cruz nailed daggers from the perimeter to lead the Scorpions’ 10-3 run in the closing stretch of the match to shatter an 88-88 tie for a seven-point cushion with 37 seconds remaining.
CEU improved to 5-3 record tied with idle Wangs.
Guinitaran drilled six three-pointers including two inside the remaining three-minute mark of the game to finish with 24 points for the Scorpions, who played sans Congolese center Rod Ebondo.
“Kinausap namin si Guinitaran at sinabi namin na ang kompiyansa sa kanya dapat nag-start,” said CEU coach Efren Garcia. “Mabuti nakinig siya at nag-deliver sa dulo.”
Art Aquino added 18 markers in a perfect 7-of-7 field goal clip, Orlan Wamar registered a double-double with 16 points and 11 assists while John Casino and Cruz scored 14 and 10, respectively, for CEU, which opted to sit Ebondo who’s still recovering from pneumonia.
The Scorpions saw their 88-83 lead evaporate as the Coffee Lovers strung five straight points capped by a triple by playing coach Leo Avenido to tie the game at 88.
But Cruz swished in a jumper from the right corner followed by Guinitaran’s triple to recover the lead as CEU held on to hand Gamboa Coffee Mix its seventh straight defeat.
Avenido had 28 points built on a 9-of-16 three-point clip, Mike Parala got 17 points and grabbed 11 rebounds, JR Cawaling finished with 13 while Val Acuna and Alvin Padila scored 11 points each for the Coffee Lover’s, who dropped to the cellar at 1-7 mark tied with Zark’s.
CEU (100) – Guinitaran 24, Aquino 18, Wamar 16, Casiño 14, Cruz 10, Uri 8, Fuentes 6, Baconcon 2, Saber 2, Arim 0, Intic 0, Jeruta 0, Manlangit 0.
GAMBOA COFFEE MIX (96) – Avenido 28, Parala 17, Cawaling 13, Acuña 11, Padilla 11, Montuano 10, Vidal 3, Acibar 2, Knuttel 1, Arellano 0, Dadjilul 0.
Quarter scores: 17-30, 45-47, 83-66, 100-96.
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