Skippers down Titans for solo 3rd

MANILA, Philippines — Marinerong Pilipino came out strong off a long break and smothered AMA Online Education right in the opening period, coasting to a 109-93 victory to seize solo third in the PBA D-League Aspirants’ Cup at the Pasig City Sports Center yesterday.

The Skippers pounced on the Titans’ sloppy defense and scored 36 points while holding their rivals to just 16 markers to post a huge 20-point bulge in the first 10 minutes of the contest. They never wavered from there and rolled to their third straight win and fourth overall against two defeats to stay behind joint leaders Zark’s Burgers and Akari-Adamson (4-1).

“We are not really contented with the way we play defense as we allowed them to score 90 points. We still need to work on that,” said Skippers coach Koy Banal, whose wards thumped the Wangs Basketball side, 96-84, more than a week ago.

Gab Banal piled up 20 points, 14 rebounds, four assists and a steal while Rian Ayonayon had 18 markers for Marinerong Pilipino.

Arvin Tolentino shot 18 points, Robbie Manalang had 15 markers after his 40-point explosion the last time out, Michael Canete wound up with 13 while Kyles Lao scored 12 for the Titans, who fell to 1-4.

In the other game, Batangas-Emilio Aguinaldo College fended off Jose Rizal U’s fightback and fashioned out an 81-71, its first in five games.

The Generals sped to a 20-6 lead in the opening quarter, sat on a 77-60 cushion in the fourth before foiling the Heavy Bombers’ late uprising.

The Bombers pulled to within, 71-77, on an 11-0 counterattack but ran out of time to cap their comeback.

Cedrick Ablaza topscored with 16 points while Earvin Mendoza, Cedric de Joya and Jerome Garcia each had 11 for Batangas-EAC.

New addition Kris Porter, who previously played for AMA, and Jeckster Apinan scored 16 apiece for the Heavy Bombers, who also dropped to 1-4.