CEDRIC de Joya scored 31 as Batangas marched on to the PBA D-League Foundation Cup quarterfinals with a thrilling 95-88 win over Gamboa Coffee Mix on Thursday at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig.
The 5-foot-6 guard from Calaca, Batangas brought the team home by scoring 11 in the final four minutes as Batangas erased a six-point deficit.
He also dished out eight assists including one to Jhygrus Laude that gave Batangas a 91-88 advantage with 46.7 to go.
"Sa totoo lang laki ng inimprove niya. Natutuwa ako naiintindihan nya ako. Maganda sa kanya he's responding, he's trying his best to maximize the teachings na binibigay ng program sa kanya," said Batangas coach Eric Gonzales.
Cedric Ablaza had 17 points, while Japs Bautista added 15.
Batangas, which improved to a 6-3 record, still has a chance to clinch a twice-to-beat edge but will have to go through league leader Flying V in its final elimination-round game on Tuesday.
Leo Avenido and Jett Vidal combined for 20 points in the crucial stretch but simply could not carry Gamboa to victory.
Avenido finished with 22 points, Vidal chipped in 14, while Gino Jumao-As, Mark Montuano and Mike Parala each scored 12 for the Coffee Lovers, who lost nine of 10 games.
Batangas 95 - De Joya 31, Ablaza 17, Bautista 15, Ragasa 11, Laude 7, Dela Peña 4, Zamora 4, Anderson 2, Isit 2, Mendoza 2, Mag-isa 0, Napoles 0, Saitanan 0.
Gamboa Coffee 88 - Avenido 22, Vidal 14, Jumao-as 12, Montuano 12, Parala 12, Acibar 6, Padilla 6, Arellano 2, Sarangay 2, Riva 0.
Quarterscores: 23-22; 39-43; 68-64; 95-88.