The AMA University Titans survived the Mindanao Aguilas in overtime in their PBA D-League encounter today, 91-85, at the Filoil Flying V Centre.
The Titans were just simply dominant in the first quarter. Oda Tampus drew first blood for the Titans and it was a sign of things to come as a Ryan Arambulo trey extended their lead to 21-6. A Jovet Mendoza jumper later on increased the Titans’ margin to a game-high 20 points, 30-10. The Titans finished the first quarter strongly with a score of 30-15.
A strong second quarter showing brought the Aguilas back in the game. A Dan Alberto free throw gave the Titans a 37-19 cushion but the Aguilas eventually trimmed the lead to 29-39 when Mark Sarangay converted the easy basket. Afterwards, Robby Celiz’s strong move inside the paint moved the Aguilas within just four points of the Titans. It was all Aguilas in the second quarter and they ended the period down just 35-41 versus the Titans.
Sarangay and Acibar continued the Aguilas’ momentum in the third quarter when they carried their team to be within just two points of the Titans. With 6:48 to go in the quarter, Sarangay once again stepped up to make it just a one point ballgame at 45-46. It was then up to Joseph Nalos who leveled the scores 50-50 on a fastbreak layup.
Baskets from Alberto and Mendoza returned the lead to the Titans. Nevertheless, the Aguilas concluded the third quarter in their terms when Jul-Ashri Ignacio’s layup gave them a slender 63-62 advantage going into the final period.
Jamito immediately returned the initiative back to the Titans when his move in the pain gave them a 64-63 start in the fourth quarter. It seemed as if the Titans regained the composure they lost in the second and third quarters when Mendoza scored inside the shaded lane to give a 76-71 buffer over the Aguilas.
Undeterred, Sarangay and Celiz, once again, provided the goods for the Aguilas to trim the Titans’ lead to a solitary point. An Alberto layup gave the Titans a 78-75 lead but then Celiz converted three free throws to level the scores at 78-78 with just 15.3 seconds left. The Titans failed to score with the remaining seconds in regulation and the said free throws enabled the Aguilas to take the game to overtime.
Split free throws marked the start of overtime with and the scores were tied. Back-to-back jumpers by De Leon gave the Titans a valuable 84-81 lead late in overtime. Celiz responded with a drive to the basket but six straight points from McCarthy sealed the game for the Titans. The Titans went on to win 91-85.
“Sa tingin ko yung running game lang namin, natuloy na,” a delighted Mark Herrera said after the game. “Yung sa dulo nga, medyo namamaintain na namin yung mga lead namin at hindi na kami bumibigay sa fourth quarter.”
The Titans banked on Rashawn McCarthy and Jammer Jamito who both had a double-double of 20 points and 12 rebounds and 20 points and 10 rebounds respectively. “Actually yung mga players kasi katulad ni Jamito, McCarthy, more on playing time lang talaga siguro yung kailangan nila,” Herrera remarked about his two stars. “Pag medyo binigyan mo sila ng mahaba-habang playing time, nagkakaroon sila ng confidence para ipakita yung mga skills nila.”
On the other hand, it was Kenneth Acibar was the high point man for the Aguilas with 23 points and 11 rebounds.
The AMA Online Titans (2-4) will meet the Tanduay Rhum Masters on Monday, February 29 at the Filoil Flying V Centre while the Mindanao Aguilas (1-5) next face the Caida Tile Masters on Tuesday, March 1 in the same venue.
AMA (91) – Jamito 20, McCarthy 20, De Leon 14, Mendoza 9, Asuncion 8, Tampus 7, Alberto 5, Arambulo 5, King 3, Jordan 0.
ZC-Mindanao (85) – Acibar 23, Sarangay 19, Celiz 17, Jumao-ass 6, Ignacio 5, Julkipli 4, Argamino 3, Garcia 2, Nalos 2, Ongteco 2, De Guzman 0, Rivera 0.
Quarterscores: 30-15, 51-35, 62-63, 78-78, 91-85.