Akari-Adamson takes flight anew at expense of Go for Gold
Jonathan Espeleta starred in Akari-Adamson's mighty rebound
Akari-Adamson University rode a hot start from Jonathan Espeleta and then the late game brilliance of Sean Manganti to score a huge 98-92 bounce back win at the expense of Go for Gold on Tuesday in the 2018 PBA D-League Aspirants’ Cup at the Pasig Sports Center.
Espeleta, the Soaring Falcons' incoming third-year forward, came out off the gates on fire, unleashing 19 of his 24 points in the first quarter to help his team assert early control with an 18-3 opening salvo which extended to as high as 25, 69-44, late in the third quarter.
The Scratchers, though, refused to fold with J-Jay Alejandro cutting the deficit down to just six, 80-86, before Manganti poured in eight of his 14 markers in the final frame to secure the victory.
“We’re in the process of experimenting,” admitted coach Franz Pumaren who was seemingly unfazed by Akari-Adamson losing grip of its double-digit lead. “We have six new guys in our team and we’re trying to make sure they all get minutes. That’s why we’re here - so we can explore what the players are capable of doing and preparing us for the bigger leagues.”
Kurt Lojera added 13 points, five rebounds, and four assists while Jerom Lastimosa got 12 for the Falcons who improved to 2-1.
Go for Gold suffered its second consecutive loss to drop down to a 1-2 card.
Alejandro went berserk late, firing 19 points on a 5-of-7 three-point shooting in the Scratchers’ belated comeback bid.
Matt Salem missed out on a double-double with his 15 markers, nine rebounds, and four assists.
AKARI-ADAMSON 98 — Espeleta 24, Manganti 14, Lojera 13, Lastimosa 12, Ahanmisi 11, Sarr 10, Catapusan 4, Buenaventura 3, Bernardo 2, Hill 2, Macion 2, Mojica 1, Camacho 0, Longalong 0.
GO FOR GOLD 92 — Alejandro 19, Salem 15, Dixon 12, Gutang 12, Casiño 9, Domingo 6, Gaco 6, Leutcheu 6, Pasturan 3, Naboa 2, Pili 2, Young 0.
QUARTER SCORES: 32-18, 56-40, 74-60, 98-92.