Skippers stay on course in playoffs spot race
Marinerong Pilipino forward John Lopez goes for a layup in the Skippers' battle against Wangs Basketball.
Marinerong Pilipino refused to sink and pulled off an 83-82 win over Wangs Basketball to stay in the race for the 2017 PBA D-League Foundation Cup playoffs Thursday at Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig.
Down, 80-67, with 4:46 remaining, Mark Isip buckled down for the Skippers and led the late 16-2 fightback. The veteran forward capped off the rally with his find of Julian Sargent, who then passed the rock to John Lopez for the go-ahead bucket with 27.6 ticks left.
Sargent continued his brilliance on the other end as he blocked Jon Gabriel’s potential game-winner as the Skippers escaped with the victory.
“Clearly, it was the grace of God. It was our faith that gave us the positive attitude na kahit down by 13 kami in the last four minutes, we didn’t waive and kept on believing that God will help us,” said coach Koy Banal.
Isip uncorked eight of his conference-best 29 points in the fourth quarter, alongside nine rebounds and three steals.
Lopez chipped in 12 markers, eight boards, and three assists, JR Alabanza got none points and five rebounds, and Sargent did it all for Marinerong Pilipino with his eight markers, nine boards, four assists, and four blocks.
It was the third straight W for the Skippers, which have now evened their record at 4-4.
Marinerong Pilipino can advance to the quarterfinals if it can sweep its remaining games against Gamboa Coffee Mix and AMA Online Education.
Wangs Basketball, on the other end, finished its eliminations schedule with a 5-5 slate. It still has a shot to make it to its first franchise quarterfinals appearance, but their fate would no longer be in their hands.
Gabriel topped the Couriers with 19 points and five rebounds, while Michael Juico got 17 markers, four boards, and three assists.
In the second game, Batangas closed in on a playoff seat and eliminated Racal Motors, 95-90.
With Joseph Sedurifa being called up by Meralco in the PBA, coach Eric Gonzales put much of the responsibility on his veterans to help the Batangueños nab their fifth win in eight games.
Jessie Saitanan led Batangas with 19 points and six rebounds, while Jhaps Bautista added 18 markers, powered by three treys, eight boards, four assists, and two steals in the win.
Cedrick Ablaza also mustered a double-double in tune of his 17 points and 10 rebounds, while also draining the game-clinching freebies with 10.8 seconds to play.
“I’m very thankful kay God for helping us sustain this game and thankful ako sa mga players na kahit wala si Joseph, sabi ko gawin natin siyang inspirasyon. We are better together so masaya ako na nagrespond sila,” said Gonzales.
Paolo Pontejos kept Racal in the game in the last three minutes and even sliced the deficit down to two, 92-90 with 31.9 ticks remaining, but Ablaza was there to ice the duel for Batangas. Gwynne Capacio botched his late trey to end the rally for Racal in the closing seconds.
After making last conference’s championship series, Racal has now bowed out of the playoff race for the first time since the 2015 Foundation Cup, exiting the tourney with its 3-5 record.
Pontejos poured 26 points, while Jamil Ortuoste had 10 in the loss.
MARINERONG PILIPINO (83) - Isip 29, Lopez 12, Alabanza 9, Iñigo 8, Sargent 8, Subido 7, Moralde 5, Marata 4, Javelona 1, Javillonar 0.
WANGS BASKETBALL (82) - Gabriel 19, Juico 17, Herndon 15, Tayongtong 11, Habelito 6, Montemayor 6, Sorela 4, Ambulodto 2, Arambulo 2, Bitoon 0, De Chavez 0, Riley 0.
Quarter scores: 12-18, 40-38, 63-69, 83-82.
BATANGAS (95) - Saitanan 19, Bautista 18, Ablaza 17, De Joya 10, Isit 8, Zamora 7, Napoles 4, Ragasa 4, Dela Peña 3, Laude 2, Anderson 2, Mendoza 1, Mag-isa 0.
RACAL MOTORS (90) - Pontejos 26, Ortuoste 10, Ayonayon 9, Capacio 8, Cortes 8, Tallo 7, Apreku 6, Gomez 6, Mangahas 4, Cabrera 3, Grimaldo 3, Faundo 0, Octubre 0, Lozada 0.
Quarter scores: 21-19, 49-43, 73-69, 95-90.