AMA Online Education grabbed the solo second spot after pulling off a come-from-behind 83-78 win over the pesky Blustar Detergent in the 2017 Philippine Basketball Association D-League Apirants’ Cup on Tuesday at the JCSGO Gym in Cubao, Quezon City.
Veteran guard Juami Tiongson stepped up big for the Titans, who missed the services of ace player Jeron Teng, and led his team to a 5-2 win-loss mark.
The former Ateneo de Manila University standout tallied 23 points, five rebounds and seven assists as AMA felt the absence of Teng, who was loaned to Mighty Sports for an international tournament in Dubai.
Ryan Arambulo added 20 markers and six boards while John Ray Alabanza contributed a double-double performance for AMA with 16 points and 12 rebounds.
The Dragons were poised of pulling off an upset as Chee Huei Liaw’s back-to-back baskets and Wei Ong Yong’s lay-up to extended Blustar’s lead to nine, 60-51, with 2:23 left in the third period.
Arambulo hit four straight points to cut the deficit by five but Blustar’s Filipino reinforcement Tristan Perez responded with two consecutive jump shots to give the Titans a 64-55 cushion entering the final period.
AMA tightened its defense in the payoff period and held Blustar to just 14 points while the Titans exploded for 28 to take the shaky win and keep the Dragons winless in the tournament.
“The team only showed that they can win a game even without our key player. It was a good and intense game against the Blustar,” said AMA coach Mark Herrera.
Jing Kwaan Yoong netted 16 points and 10 boards while Long Seng Mak had 15 markers and five rebounds for the Blustar, which fell to 0-5 in the standings.
In the second game, Team Batangas also pulled off its own miracle, coming back from a 22-point deficit to stun Wangs Basketball, 97-96, for its second win in the tournament.
Team Batangas trailed 37-59 going to the break but Cedric de Joya and Joseph Sedurifa joined forced in the final half to shock Wangs Basketball.
De Joya delivered 19 markers and five rebounds while Joseph Sedurifa had a near-triple-double showing with 18 points, 11 boards and seven assists for the Batangas team.
John Von Tambeling, meanwhile, had 21 points for Wangs while John Tayongtong and Rey Publico chipped in 15 markers apiece also for Wangs Basketball, which fell to 1-5.
AMA 83—Tiongson 23, Arambulo 20, Alabanza 16, Barua 7, Taganas 5, Macaranas 4, Bragais 2, Jordan 2, Flores 2, Riley Jr. 2, Jumao-As 0, Carpio 0, Malones 0, Teng 0.
BLUSTAR 78—Yoong 16, Mak 15, Perez 11, Vui Hang Ang 11, Liaw 10, Melano 6, Yong 6, Heng 3, Kamalrulzama 0, Choong 0, Zhi 0, Gan 0, Liew 0, Wong 0.
Quarterscores: 24-20, 43-42, 55-64, 83-78.
BATANGAS 97—De joya 19, Sedurifa 18, Andrada 13, Laude 10, Inciong 10, Sara 7, Lascano 5, Isit 5, Ablaza 4, Mangabang 3, Dela Pena 3, Fortu 0, Anderson 0, Ada 0.
WANGS 96—Tambeling 21, Publico 15, Tayongtong 15, Regalado 13, Montuano 12, Gomez 10, Labingisa 5, King 3, Brana 2, Salcedo 0, Lasco 0, Enriquez 0, Gubal 0.
Quarterscores: 22-23, 37-59, 62-82, 97-96.