JONATHAN Manalili delivered in the clutch, carrying Farm Fresh-Letran to a thrilling 90-88 win over gallant Mandaluyong Namayan in the NCR Leg of the Manila Bankers Life-Pilipinas Super League 18-Under tournament on Wednesday at San Andres Gymnasium.
With 9.5 seconds left and the game knotted at 88-all, Manalili, the 16th-ranked high school prospect by the National Basketball Training Center, received the ball from the top of the key, swooped to the lane and knocked down a high-arching layup as time expired to seal the Milkers’ fourth straight win.
Manalili wound up with 11 points, four rebounds, three assists, and two steals.
Farm Fresh-Letran is now the only unbeaten team in the NCR Leg of this tournament co-presented by SCD and Dumper party-list, and supported by J Project Clothings, MDC, Bluesky Advertising, NET 25, Wcube Solutions Inc., Hotel SOGO, and Converge.
NCAA Season 98 Juniors Basketball Finals MVP Andy Gemao led the way for the Milkers with 32 points, seven rebounds, and two steals as De La Salle Zobel’s Kieffer Alas was held down to just four points.
Still, it was a tough stand by the Tigre, who rallied from nine points down before tying that game at 88-all with 10 seconds left in the contest.
Shawn Antazo led Mandaluyong Namayan with 23 points and eight rebounds while James Corpuz and Axell Cue finished with 13 and 12 markers, respectively.
Mandaluyong fell to an even 3-3 slate, dimming their chances of advancing to the final four of this 10-team leg.
Not to be outshone was Pampanga Pradera Theme Park, who romped Quezon, 97-75, in the sole Luzon leg game of the day held at the same venue.
De La Salle University freshman Rhyle Melencio produced 23 points and seven rebounds to power Pampanga Pradera to a clean 5-0 slate to clinch a final four berth.
The Far Eastern University-Diliman duo of Dwyne Miranda and Veejay Pre supported Melencio with the former scoring 22 points on five triples while the latter added 15 points and seven rebounds.
John Rex Villanueva was the high-point man for Quezon, who fell to 2-1 for a share of third, with 20 points.
In other NCR leg games, New Era University scored its first win in five games to keep its playoff hopes alive after an 87-79 win over Taytay while 521 Trading-Mapua eliminated Magnificent Manila from contention with a 90-88 escape.
Nicolo Mulingtapang led the Red Robins to a 2-1 record, dropping 29 points and seven rebounds in the win.
The New Era Hunters, meanwhile, had five players score in double-digits, led by Ricardo Aganon’s 15 points.
Taytay fell to an even 2-2 record while Manila dropped its fifth straight game in as many outings.