CEBU CITY – Joseph Terso and Gab Banal waxed hot in crunchtime, combining to score 16 of the Marinerong Pilipino’s last 18 points, to turn back the University of Cebu-M. Lhuillier, 79-71, in the Cebu City Sinulog Cup Basketball Invitational on Thursday night at the Cebu Coliseum.
Banal found his shooting stroke just in time as he scored eight straight points immediately after UC grabbed the lead, 62-61, with 4:03 to go.
Banal scored a layup, banked in a floater, split his free-throws and completed an and-one that put the Skippers in front, 69-64, while also netting UC sentinel Frederick Elombe’s fifth foul, putting the talented Cameroonian out for the game with 1:57 to go.
UC kept close, 67-69 with a banker by Ruben Ludovice and two freebies by the team’s other foreign player, Lassi Coulibaly. But Terso, who was inserted into the game in the last two minutes, sank two straight triples and two free-throws to seal the win for the PBA D-League squad.
Philip Paredes led the Skippers with 14 points and six rebounds, Abu Tratter had 11 while Terso and Mike Ayonayon put up 10, the latter adding 10 boards, four assists, two steals and a block.
The win improved the Skippers’ record to 2-1 and into a tie with University of San Jose-Recoletos-May Abohan with the final day of the round-robin elimination round on Friday afternoon.
The top two teams at the end of the round will advance to the championship game on Saturday evening.
UC fell to 1-2 in spite of Coulibaly’s 14-point, 13-rebound effort. Justine Dacalos flirted with a triple-double with 12 points, all from beyond the three-point arc, to go with seven rebounds and seven assists. Despite playing just 18 minutes, Elombe still finished with a double-double of 11 points and 10 rebounds.