PONG Escobal scored 20 of his 22 points in the fourth quarter as Fruitas kept its quarterfinal hopes alive with a 73-61 victory over Boracay Rum on Tuesday in the PBA D-League Aspirants Cup at The Arena in San Juan.
Escobal fired 12 straight points in a decisive run to help the Shakers finish the elimination round with a 5-5 win-loss record and eliminate the Waves from quarterfinal contention.
The Shakers, in solo sixth following the win, will make it to the quarterfinals if Cebuana Lhuillier (4-5) loses to Jose Rizal University on Thursday at the Ynares Sports Arena.
A win by the Gems, however, will forge a three-way tie for fifth place but the Shakers will be eliminated due to an inferior quotient.
Jan Colina added 13 points and 11 rebounds for the Shakers, who had their two-game losing skid snapped by playing without Nigerian center Ola Adeogun for the third straight time.
“Mahirap talaga without Ola dahil ang line-up namin heavily relies on Ola, Carlo, and Pong. Kaya lang, with one guy out, mahirap talaga dahil the other teams will just focus on the guards,” said said Fruitas head coach Nash Racela.
“At least today, finally si Pong (stepped up)… na-miss namin si Pong (the past few games),” Racela added.
Boracay Rum held a 46-37 lead during the third quarter, but Escobal and the Shakers turned things around.
The game was tied at 53 when Raymond Ilagan gave the Waves the lead but Escobal took over.
The former San Beda Red Lion began the run with a game-tying jumper, then hit a triple for a 58-55 advantage. Another triple extended the lead to 63-55 and the Shakers never looked back.
Boracay Rum had its four-game winning streak snapped.
Fruitas (73) – Escobal 22, Colina 13, Lastimosa 9, Dela Rosa 7, Caram 4, Silungan 4, Terso 4, Antonio 4, Mendoza 2, Belleza 2, Escueta 2, Pascual 0.
Boracay Rum (61) – Sabellina 14, Cabrera 10, Siruma 9, Eguilos 8, Viernes 7, Ilagan 6, Arellano 3, Monteclaro 2, Taha 2, Acibar 0, Bandaying 0.
Quarterscores: 13-19; 33-29; 47-51; 73-61.