Wangs Basketball-Colegio de San Juan de Letran went on a fiery run bridging the last two quarters then staved off a late rally as it repulsed the gutsy Go For Gold-College of St. Benilde (CSB), 91-88, to post its third straight win in the Philippine Basketball Association Developmental League (PBA D-League) Aspirants’ Cup 2018 on Monday at the JCSGO Gym in Quezon City.
After building a huge lead with a surge connecting the third and fourth periods, the Couriers sank their free throw shots to survive a late fightback and eventually extend their streak.
The thrilling victory allowed Wangs-Letran to momentarily gain a share of third with Marinerong Pilipino on similar 5-2 win-loss records.
Head coach Jeff Napa though rued his Couriers’ blunders in the endgame.
“We wasted away possessions in the crucial stretch. We committed two turnovers in inbounding the ball,” lamented Napa, whose wards had a total of 26 turnovers.
“Luckily, our defense prevailed and we still got this win,” he added.
Bong Quinto starred for the Couriers anew as the forward finished with a team-high 17 points on top of nine rebounds and five assists while Alex Mandreza and Rey Publico added 14 and 12 markers, respectively.
Wangs outworked Go For Gold-CSB in crashing the boards, 58-35, to amass a higher second chance points, 22-8.
Yankee Haruna led the Scratchers with a game-best 20 points to go with seven rebounds while new recruit Paul Desiderio chipped in 15 markers. J-jay Alejandro and Justin Gutang each scored 13 points in the loss.
Go For Gold suffered its second consecutive defeat and was left stuck at No. 8 with a 4-5 slate.
Following a nip-and-tuck contest that saw 31 lead changes and nine deadlocks, Wangs stepped on the gas late in the third frame to spark a 16-2 blast, which was capped by JP Calvo’s teardrop at the 6:05 mark of the payoff period for a 79-64 spread.
Haruna and Desiderio spearheaded an 11-0 outburst, cutting Go For Gold’s deficit down to 83-85 with 34 seconds left.
Calvo hit two shots from the foul line but Alejandro responded with his own as the Couriers still held a slim 87-85 lead.
After Rey Publico made his charities for an 89-85 Wangs lead, Alejandro drained a triple to push Go For Gold closer, 88-89, with 11 ticks remaining.
Quinto then took care of his freebies, pegging the final tally as Gutang muffed a potential game-tying three-pointer.