Scratchers rally past Coffee Lovers

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Go For Gold-College of Saint Benilde (CSB) came alive in the fourth quarter to upset Gamboa Coffee Mix-Saint Clare College, 75-68, and open its campaign on a high in the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Developmental League Aspirants’ Cup 2018 on Monday at the Pasig City Sports Center.

After trailing behind most of the game, the Scratchers broke away in the final 10 minutes as it outgunned the Coffee Lovers, 23-15, to snare their breakthrough win.

“I’m happy because we needed a test like this as young team, to learn how to come from behind against a good team in St. Clare,” said Go For Gold head coach Charles Tiu.

Go for Gold’s Kent Salado drives to the basket against Gamboa’s Junjie Hallare and Aris Dionisio during the the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Developmental League Aspirants’ Cup 2018 on Monday at the Pasig City Sports Center. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Tiu added that their defense down the stretch proved to be a crucial part in their season-opening victory.


“In the fourth quarter, they (Gamboa) were not able to make a lot of shots. We then cut down our turnovers and executed very well,” said Tiu.

Clement Leutcheu paced Go For Gold with 14 points and seven rebounds while veteran captain Jerwin Gaco chipped in 13 markers and nine boards.

Justin Gutang chalked a double-double of 10 points and 13 rebounds even as guard Unique Naboa poured all his eight points in the pivotal payoff period.

Kent Salado, who injured his left knee in the third period, had an all-around effort of nine points, five rebounds, four assists and three steals.

The CSB-backed squad displayed its deep rotation, getting 37 points off the bench against the St. Clare-backed team’s 23 markers.

Gamboa top gunner Aris Dionisio fired a game-high 19 points on top of 13 boards while Mohammed Pare tallied a huge double-double of 10 points and 16 rebounds in the loss.

The Coffee Lovers enjoyed a 28-18 lead early in the second quarter but Gaco banked in back-to-back baskets to spark a blazing 8-1 rally that pushed the Scratchers to within 30-33 at the half.

Go For Gold got its first taste of the lead late in the third period, 52-51, as Leutcheu sank a layup off a fastbreak. John Ambulodto answered back to keep a one-point advantage for Gamboa, 53-52, entering the final frame.

Tied at 55-all, the Scratchers suddenly went on a 16-7 tear anchored on three triples to post a 71-62 spread with 3:38 left.

The Coffee Lovers dropped six straight points to cut the deficit to 68-71 with under two minutes remaining.

Naboa stole the ball from Pare then issued a pass to an uncontested Gaco, who drained an easy basket for a 73-68 lead.

Dionisio drew a foul from J-jay Alejandro while taking a three-pointer but missed all the ensuing free throws and guard Trevis Jackson turned the ball over, spelling the doom for Gamboa.

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