CEBUANA Lhuillier drew an impressive effort from Allan Mangahas to survive Hapee, 76-73, on Thursday and forge a deciding game of their PBA D-League Foundation Cup semifinal series at the Ynares Arena in Pasig.
Mangahas played a game to remember as the journeyman playmaker out of Mapua almost singlehandedly carried the Gems to victory after the top-seeded side lost Game One, 82-71, last Monday.
Mangahas, who moonlighted for Meralco two years ago, ended up with a career-high 40 points, including 13 in the final frame where the Gems outlasted a fellow undermanned side in the Fresh Fighters to extend the best-of-three series.
“We live another day,” Gems coach Boycie Zamar said. “Yun lang naman gusto natin eh.”
Game Three is on Monday at 3 p.m. in the same venue.
Ola Adeogun led the Fresh Fighters with 25 points, including two on a stab over a merely staring Moala Tautuaa that gave his team a 73-72 lead with one minute and 25 seconds remaining.
But Mangahas, stepping up in the absence of Gilas Cadet members Almond Vosotros and Norbert Torres, retaliated with a floater to give his team the lead for good.
Atoning for his defensive miscue, Tautuaa scored on his own close-range bucket to pad to the Cebuana cushion and eventually prevail in a nip-and-tuck encounter that saw 12 lead changes and six deadlocks.
Tautuaa, nursing an ankle injury he suffered in Game One, wound up with 10 points and 12 boards in 25 minutes.
Mar Villahermosa scored 13 markers for Hapee, but missed two three-point attempts in the endgame that would’ve forced overtime.
Art dela Cruz, who smiled brightest for Hapee in the opener with a near triple-double of 23 points, nine boards, and seven assists, was non-existent offensively this time as he was limited to two measly points, although he had seven boards, six assists, and two steals.
CEBUANA LHUILLIER 76 – Mangahas A. 40, Tautuaa 10, Zamar 8, Lopez 7, Corpuz 4, Sarangay 3, Enciso 2, Acosta 2, Cabrera 0, Mangahas J. 0, Bautista 0, Van Opstal 0
HAPEE 73 – Adeogun 25, Newsome 15, Villahermosa 13, Mendoza 8, Elorde 5, Koga 3, Sorela 2, Dela Cruz 2, Long 0, Gamboa 0, Romero 0
Quarterscores: 22-23, 41-38, 57-55, 76-73