Batangas still surprising, now solo second
ABS-CBN Sports on Jun 22, 2017 07:55 PM
Batangas claimed solo second place in the 2017 PBA D-League Foundation Cup with a 95-76 rout of AMA Online Education Thursday at Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig.
The Batangueños rode their hot start and leaned on the duo of Jhaps Bautista and Joseph Sedurifa to grab an early 22-10 lead in the first period. That further ballooned to 21, 55-34, with 6:13 left in the third quarter as they refused to take their foot off the gas pedal and cruised to their third win in four outings.
“Maganda yung naging investment namin noong nakaraang conference. Yung core ng team intact at tingin ko, naa-absorb na nila yung mga gusto ko para sa isang team,” said coach Eric Gonzales.
Bautista poured 12 of his 22 points in the first two frames, while also hauling down six rebounds, while Sedurifa added 16 markers, eight boards, and two steals off the bench.
Cedrick Ablaza also contributed 11 points and seven rebounds in Batangas’ bounce back win, after tasting a 72-70 defeat at the hands of CEU last Thursday.
Though coming away with the victory, Gonzales believes that the Batangueños can still improve moving forward as they inch closer on nabbing a spot in the quarterfinals.
“Sabi ko sa kanila, dream ko na makapasok sa quarters. Kaya ang dami pa rin talaga naming kailangang i-correct,” said the two-time PBA D-League champion mentor.
Ivan Villanueva carried AMA (0-4) with 14 points and three rebounds, while Renzo Subido had 13 markers and four assists.
Andre Paras also registered a double-double with his 10 points and 22 boards, alongside four blocks in the defeat.
In the second game, Centro Escolar University went down and dirty on the defensive end as it choked Zark’s Burgers, 78-62.
The Scorpions caught the Jawbreakers by surprise after the halftime break, choking them on defense as CEU held Zark’s Burgers to just eight points in the third frame and grab a commanding 59-44 advantage.
Congolese center Rod Ebondo towered over the opposition as he led CEU with 23 points, 21 rebounds, and two blocks.
Christian Uri had a near double-double with his 11 markers and nine boards, while JK Casiño handed out 10 points, three assists, and two rebounds to put the Scorpions up on an even 2-2 record.
Still, coach Yong Garcia isn’t buying his team’s hype despite stringing two straight victories.
“Medyo nakakapag-adjust na rin kami, but still, ang dami pa ring mga lapses,” he said. “Lagi naming sinasabi na kailangan naming mag-focus at mag-improve every game. And today’s win is credit to the boys dahil nag-focus talaga sila sa game.”
Clark Bautista led Zark’s Burgers (1-4) with 16 points on a 4-of-6 sniping from beyond the arc, to go with four assists, while Robby Celiz had 10 markers and four dimes.
BATANGAS 95 - Bautista 22, Sedurifa 16, Ablaza 11, Anderson 10, De Joya 8, Napoles 7, Ragasa 6, Mag-isa 5, Saitanan 4, Mendoza 3, Laude 3, Dela Peña 0.
AMA ONLINE EDUCATION 76 - Villanueva 14, Subido 13, Alas 12, Paras 10, Bonleon 9, Flores 5, Salonga 4, Pontejos 4, Macaranas 3, Celso 2, Jordan 0, Bragais 0, Malones 0, Carpio 0.
QUARTER SCORES: 22-14, 44-26, 73-57, 95-76.
CEU 78 - Ebondo 23, Uri 11, Casiño 10, Wamar 9, Manlangit 6, Arim 4, Guinitaran 4, Jeruta 4, Cruz 3, Saber 2, Galinato 2, Intic 0, Aquino 0.
ZARK’S BURGERS 62 - Bautista 16, Celiz 10, Mangahas 9, Nalos 7, Cudal 7, De Leon 6, Argamino 3, Sheriff 2, Cayabyab 2, Ferrer 0, Juruena 0.
QUARTER SCORES: 27-22, 41-36, 59-44, 78-62.