Robbie Manalang dropped a conference-high 40 points to guide the AMA Online Education Titans to a 96-93 victory over the Batangas-EAC Generals and gain their first win in the 2018 PBA D-League Aspirants’ Cup, Monday at JCSGO Gym in Cubao.
The Filipino-American guard shot 8-of-16 from threes to lead the charge for the Titans, and more importantly, survive a late flurry from the Generals.
James Martinez also got 18 markers in his return to the AMA camp. Genmar Bragais added 17 points, seven rebounds, and five assists, and Rocky Antonares chipped in a double-double of 12 markers and 12 boards.
Coach Mark Herrera also paraded Arvin Tolentino and Kyles Lao as his new recruits in the game.
“Kumuha tayo ng scorers. Walang umiiskor bukod kay Robbie these last games eh. At least ngayon, may iba tayong option,” he said.
It was almost an easy victory for AMA after they jumped to a 12-0 start, which even ballooned to 28, 54-26 early in the third period.
However, Batangas-EAC refused to fold, as the trio of Cedric de Joya, Cedric Ablaza, and Jerome Garcia helped their side crawl its way back and get to within two, 95-93, in the final 11.0 seconds.
Martinez split his foul shots in the last 9.9 ticks, leaving the door open for the Generals, but Earvin Mendoza and Garcia both botched their treys in the waning seconds of the game.
“Sabi ko napagod na rin yung players kanina dahil nababad sila masyado kaya rin nakahabol yung kalaban,” said Herrera.
The Titans did escape with their 1-3 card and kept the Generals in the cellar at 0-4.
De Joya topscored for Batangas-EAC with 21 points, Ablaza registered a double-double of 17 markers and 12 boards, while Garcia had 15 points, four rebounds, and four assists in the defeat.
AMA 96 — Manalang 40, Martinez 18, Bragais 17, Antonares 12, Tolentino 6, Lao 3, Escalambre 0, Garcia 0, Jordan 0, Matillano 0, Porter 0.
Batangas-EAC 93 — De Joya 21, Ablaza 17, Garcia 15, E. Mendoza 11, Diego 10, Laude 6, Bautista 4, Dela Peña 3, Maguliano 2, J. Mendoza 2, Tampoc 2, Martin 0, Neri 0.
Quarterscores: 26-8, 52-26, 71-58, 96-93.