JOSE Rizal University took advantage of Big Chill’s late miscues to hack out a 63-61 win on Tuesday to force a knockout game for a semifinal berth in the PBA D-League Aspirants Cup at The Arena in San Juan.
The fifth-ranked Heavy Bombers capitalized on the bungled opportunities by the Superchargers in the stretch and converting it into split charities by Jeckster Apinan and Michael Mabulac for the win.
The deciding quarterfinal game between the two teams is set Thursday at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig.
The winner of the JRU-Big Chill series takes on three-time defending champion NLEX in a best-of-three semifinals series.
The third-seed Superchargers, owner of a twice-to-beat edge over the Bombers, could have won the game outright if not for the costly mistakes they committed in the final two minutes of the game.
“Nag-turnover sa kanila (Big Chill) and we capitalized on that,” said JRU coach Vergel Meneses.
Despite the win, Meneses was not satisfied with the way the Bombers played especially on defense.
“It should be 40 minutes of defense. We were not executing well sa opensa, hindi pa kami nakaka-depensa. But we made some adjustments,” said the former PBA great.
John Pinto scored an unmolested lay-up off a Ryan Buenafe turnover with a minute and 45 seconds left to play to give JRU the lead, 61-59.
Rodney Brondial tied the count with a lay-up in the final 62 seconds. But following an airball by Mark Canlas at the other end, Brondial committed an ill-advised foul on Apinan with 26.5 seconds to play and Big Chill in penalty.
Apinan sank one of two charities with 26.5 ticks remaining to break a 61-61 deadlock and pushed the Bombers on top to stay.
Alex Nuyles then missed a long jumper, and was forced to foul Mabulac after the Bombers got possession. Mabulac split his free throws to make it 63-61 with 8.6 seconds that still left the door open for a Big Chill win.
Unfortunately, the Super Chargers failed to make a decent shot as time expired.
Big Chill, which even led by as much as eight points in the second period, failed to protect a 57-55 lead midway in the fourth built on an 8-2 run.
Former University of Santo Tomas Tiger Khazim Mirza had 12 points for JRU and banged home the game-tying jumper, 59-all, before Pinto came through with his own basket
The other quarterfinal pairing between Cebuana Lhuillier and Cagayan Valley will also go the distance after the Gems won, 84-83.
JRU (63) -- Mirza 12, Maiquez 11, Pinto 10, Mabulac 9, Ighalo 8, Villarias 5, Apinan 5, Del Rio 3, Paniamogan 0, Lopez 0, Caperal 0, Almario 0, Miranda 0.
Big Chill (61) -- Bringas 10, Collado 9, Brondial 8, Buenafe 8, Montilla 8, Semira 7, Nuyles 6, Montecastro 2, Lozada 2, Canlas 1, Villahermosa 0.
Quarterscores: 10-15; 24-25; 48-45; 63-61.