Ayaay rallies Zark's-LPU past CEU and onto PBA D-League semis

ABS-CBN Sports on Apr 12, 2018 05:55 PM
Ayaay rallies Zark's-LPU past CEU, onto PBA D-League semis
Zark's-LPU is in the PBA D-League semifinals for the first time in the two year existence of the franchise

Zark’s Burger-Lyceum of the Philippines University refused to lose and hacked out an 82-77 triumph over Centro Escolar University on Thursday in Pasig's Ynares Arena to complete the Final Four picture in the 2018 PBA D-League Aspirants’ Cup.

MJ Ayaay willed the Jawbreakers back in the game as they clawed their way back from a 61-72 deficit in the last 7:27 and uncorked a stunning 21-5 finishing kick to steal the game away from the Scorpions.

“I just reminded them to just enjoy the game and that gave them more freedom to play,” said coach Topex Robinson, as sixth-seeded Zark’s-LPU braces for two-seed Marinerong Pilipino in the best-of-three semifinals starting on Tuesday.

Ayaay was all over the floor with his 15 points, four rebounds, five steals, and four blocks to make up for the absence of CJ Perez who fouled out with 4:54 left in the game.

Jayvee Marcelino top-scored for his side with 17 points, twin brother Jaycee Marcelino contributed 10 markers, seven assists, and three boards, and Cameroonian slotman Mike Nzeusseu tallied a double-double of 12 points and 16 rebounds, alongside his four swats.

It was an awe-inspiring stand from a Jawbreakers side which looked dead in the water after the Scorpions raced to a 30-12 advantage in the first quarter.

But in the end, it was Zark’s-LPU's defense which did the trick, stifling CEU in the clutch to snatch the victory and overcome the twice-to-beat disadvantage in the quarterfinals.

Rod Ebondo unfurled 22 points and 16 rebounds to lead the Scorpions while Art Aquino got 16 markers and 11 boards in the exit.

CEU, the runner-up in last season’s Foundation Cup, missed the semifinals for the first time since the 2014 Foundation Cup.

BOX SCORES

ZARK’S BURGER-LPU 82 — Jv. Marcelino 17, Ayaay 15, Nzeusseu 12, Jc. Marcelino 10, Perez 8, Tansingco 6, Caduyac 5, Serrano 4, Yong 3, Pretta 2, Cinco 0, Ibañez 0.

CEU 77 — Ebondo 22, Aquino 16, Wamar 11, Guinitaran 10, Cruz 6, Fuentes 4, Caballero 3, Manlangit 3, Arim 2, Chan 0, Galinato 0, Intic 0, Veron 0.

QUARTER SCORES: 15-30, 37-45, 56-65, 82-77.

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