The Zark’s Burger-Lyceum Jawbreakers lost hold of a 14-point lead in the third quarter, but were able to withstand the uprising from the Wangs Basketball-Letran Couriers to eke out the slim 95-93 win, Monday afternoon at the Pasig Sports Center.
MJ Ayaay and Jaycee Marcelino made a perfect connection in the last 1:03, drilling the go-ahead floater to give the Jawbreakers the two-point advantage.
Their defense then clicked as they stifled the Couriers’ numerous chances in the final minute, the last of which was a forced fadeaway from Bonbon Batiller, to seal the deal and avert the meltdown.
“I made the mistake. It’s my responsibility because I wanted to give the others a chance to play. It almost turned into a loss and it’s my responsibility,” remarked coach Topex Robinson.
Mike Nzeusseu led his side with 27 points, 11 rebounds, three steals, and three blocks. CJ Perez had 18 markers, six boards, five dimes, and two steals for Zark’s-Lyceum, who racked up their fourth straight win to rise to a 4-1 slate.
Ralph Tansingco also came up big, going 4-of-6 from threes to finish with 16.
His third quarter explosion allowed the Jawbreakers to gain a bit of a breathing room, taking a 77-67 lead at the end of the frame, which further ballooned to 14, 81-67, early in the fourth quarter.
Wangs-Letran, though, made a huge run and even tied the game at 93 thanks to a Batiller undergoal stab with 1:25 left.
“We have to give credit to Wangs. They really wanted to win it badly,” said Topex Robinson. “But now, I know that we know how to finish games. These close games, we learn from our mistakes and it makes us sharper.”
Bong Quinto paced the Couriers with 22 points, 10 rebounds, and three assists, while JP Calvo had 16 markers, five dimes, and three boards in their first loss of the tourney.
Zark’s-Lyceum 95 — Nzeusseu 27, Perez 18, Tansingco 16, Ayaay 11, Jv. Marcelino 8, Serrano 6, Jc. Marcelino 4, Baltazar 3, Santos 2, Caduyac 0, Cinco 0, Ibañez 0, Marata 0.
Wangs-Letran 93 — Quinto 22, Calvo 16, Fajarito 13, Ambohot 11, Batiller 7, Muyang 6, Publico 6, Mandreza 5, Trinidad 3, Balanza 2, Taladua 2, Balagasay 0.
Quarterscores: 18-20, 46-45, 77-67, 95-93.