ZC-Mindanao Aguilas winless streak came to an end at the expense of a struggling BDO-NU side as the Aguilas pulled off a 73-67 win Thursday in the PBA D-League Aspirants Cup at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig City.
After giving up 22 points in the opening quarter, the Aguilas shut down BDO-NU to only 26 points on the next two to complete the turnaround. Dexter Garcia led a balanced effort with 13 points, while four others scored at least seven points.
“Napakahirap manalo sa level ng laro dito. Magagaling talaga ang kalaban. Basta’t sabi ko lang sa kanila, tiwala at loyalty sa akin,” said coach Nino Natividad. “They’re willing to die for the team.”
Mindanao captured its first victory to improve to 1-4 while BDO-NU dropped to 1-3.
Matt Salem anchored BDO-NU’s offense in the first quarter as he dropped seven points to lead the squad to a comfortable 22-13 opening quarter.
But the Aguilas stormed back, going on a 20-3 onslaught in the second period which stunned BDO-NU.
Back to back baskets by Joseph Nalos gave the Aguilas the lead, 29-25 before Robby Celiz and Ivan Villanueva added to the damage to extend the margin to 33-25.
Nico Javelona ended the drought for BDO-NU, while a Robin Rono trey cut Mindanao’s lead down to 34-33 entering the halftime break.
Three straight foul shots by Gino Jumao-as and an and-one play completed by Nalos broke a slim 46-45 edge and made it a more comfortable 58-48 lead for Mindanao.
“Sa basketball naman, laging may pressure, pero it’s a challenge for us,” Natividad reflected about the win. “Everyday, we must learn. Gagaling at gagaling tayo at mabibigyan din tayo ng chance manalo.”
BDO-NU tried to steal the game inside the final two minutes when JJ Alejandro and Tristan Perez converted free throws to cut the deficit down to 69-66, but the Aguilas were able to hold on for the win.
Mindanao scored 20 points off 23 BDO-NU turnovers and shot slightly better at 41 percent compared to only 36 percent for BDO-NU.
Alejandro scored 12 points to lead the Bulldogs while Meds Salim added 11 markers.
ZC-Mindanao (73) – Garcia 13, Celiz 9, Ignacio 8, Ongteco 7, Nalos 7, Acibar 6, Sarangay 5, Argamino 4, Jumao-as 5, Villanueva 4, Julkipli 4, Dela Cruz 1.
BDO-NU (67) – Alejandro 12, Salim 11, Javelona 9, Rono 8, Salem 7, Perez 5, Diputado 4, Yu 4, Tansingco 4, Labing-isa 3.
Quarterscores: 13-22, 34-33, 59-48, 73-67.