EcoOil-La Salle gutted out a tough 79-73 squeaker over Karate Kid-CEU to earn its second win in the 2020 PBA D-League Aspirants’ Cup Monday at Paco Arena in Manila.
Justine Baltazar showed the way for the Green Archers, collecting 12 of his 20 points in the fourth quarter. He also added eight rebounds and five assists to lead his side to their second victory.
“I think we know that nobody can stop Balti. We had to go to him every time sa kanya until CEU finds a way to stop it,” said coach Derrick Pumaren of his starting center.
His brilliance made the difference for EcoOil-La Salle. Baltazar sparked a 10-2 run that turned the game from a close 62-60 affair to a 72-62 lead with 5:02 still on the clock.
Karate Kid-CEU repeatedly tried to mount a fightback, getting within four points, 74-70 with 2:48 left. But a basket from Tyrus Hill and charities from Baltazar sealed the game for good, 78-70, in the last 1:51.
“I’m quite disappointed with the way we played today, a lot of selfish plays. We didn’t play the way we should play,” lamented Pumarenm as his side lost hold of a 13-point first half lead.
Encho Serrano added 18 points, five rebounds, two assists, and two steals. Senegalese center Amadou Ndiaye had 10 points, 16 boards, two dimes, and two rejections. Both players fouled out in the payoff period.
On the other hand, Karate Kid-CEU bowed to its second defeat in the tourney.
Justin Arana topscored for the Scorpions with 13 points and three rebounds, while Dave Bernabe had 10 points and six boards in the defeat.
EcoOil-DLSU 79 — Baltazar 20, Serrano 18, Ndiaye 10, Melecio 7, Hill 7, Vales 6, Manuel 6, Lojera 5, Bartlett 0, Bates 0.
Karate Kid-CEU 73 — Arana 13, Bernabe 10, Murrell 9, Apacible 8, Taladua 8, Guinitaran 8, Diaz 6, Sunga 6, Pingoy 3, Santos 2, Abastillas 0.
Quarterscores: 23-15, 49-38, 59-57, 79-73.