Who would have expected that these two teams provided the best game in the young 2016 PBA D-League Aspirants Cup so far?
Down 16 early in the fourth quarter, the Wangs Basketball Couriers relied on the trio of Gwyne Capacio, Tata Bautista, and Francis Munsayac to up their game against the ZC-Mindanao Aguilas and eventually notch their first win, 97-88, early Thursday evening at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig City.
The Aguilas, desperate for their first win, were aggressive in the first quarter, with aggressive drives and physical defense that led to a 24-10 lead for the Mindanao-based squad. Former UE Red Warriors Ken Acibar and Gino Jumao-as combined for 12 points in the quarter. Moreover, the Aguilas forced their opponents into seven turnovers in the quarter that led to six turnover points.
The lead continued to balloon for the Aguilas in the next two quarters, through the hot shooting of former CSB Blazer Dexter Garcia. Garcia torched the Wangs’ defense, draining four triples as he tallied 18 points by the end of the third canto. Moreover, Acibar continued to pound the paint to help give the Aguilas the biggest lead of the game, 62-43, at the two minute mark of the quarter.
The Couriers were able to enter the final frame with a 7-0 rally through the efforts of James Mangahas. However, the momentum they gained during their third quarter rally was quickly doused by Mark Sarangay. Sarangay helped extend the Aguilas lead to 16, 76-60, with four minutes remaining in the game.
After a timeout, the Aguilas’ offense became complacent, while Wangs played with urgency at the other end. The Couriers blasted their opponents with a huge 19-1 blast. Former Growling Tiger Tata Bautista sparked the rally by scoring eight of the first ten points of the rally. Gwynn Capacio then exploited his defender Gino Jumao-as, slashing through the lanes and scoring eight points. A three-point play by EAC King General Francis Munsayac tied the game at 77-all with 1:13 remaining. After a defensive stop, Capacio knocked down two charities to take the lead, 79-77, with 36 ticks remaining. However, Sarangay was able to find Acibar for a wide-open jumper with 25 second left to tie the game and send it to overtime.
With all the momentum on their side, and knowing the matchup needed to be exploited, Wangs Basketball gained an 87-92 lead with 3:24 left in extra time. After a three point play by Capacio that extended the Couriers lead to 90-84 with 1:53 remaining, Jumao-as got it back with a three-point play of his own. Unfortunately for the Aguilas, back-to-back conversions by Capacio and Bautista sealed the game for Wangs, 97-88.
“Yung intensity nila sa defense nagawa namin,” Wangs head coach Pablo Lucas shared about the huge come-from-behind win. He also complimented the performance of his new player Gwyne Capacio, who tallied 23 points on 9/15 shooting, six rebounds, and two steals, in saying, “Si Capacio gumawa talaga at nakikinig talaga siya. Malaki impact niya sa team.”
“Nakita namin ngayon kung papano siya makakatulong sa team.”
Three other Couriers scored in double-figures with Mangahas scoring 18, Munsayac with 12, and Bautista adding 16.
For the Aguilas, Dexter Garcia was the high-point man in 23 points. He knocked down five triples but was limited to just five points in the last 15 minutes of the game. Ken Acibar added 18 points and nine boards in the loss.
The Wangs Basketball Couriers (1-1) will face the Caida Tile Masters (2-0) on Tuesday, February 2 at 4:00pm, while the Mindanao Aguilas (0-2) face a tough Tanduay Rhum Masters (0-2) on Thursday, February 4 at 2:00pm.
Wangs Basketball (97) – Capacio 23, Mangahas 18, Munsayac 17, Bautista 16, Vijandre 6, Ilad 5, Banal 4, Montemayor Je. 4, Cueto 2, Montemayor Jo. 2, Tumalip 0.
ZC-Mindanao (88) – Garcia 23, Acibar 18, Jumao-as 15, Sarangay 11, Julkipli 5, Rivera 5, Ignacio 4, Ongteco 3, Rublico 2, Villanueva 2, De Guzman 0, Nalos 0, Wetherell 0.
Quarterscores: 10-24, 29-39, 50-62, 79-79, 97-88.