MARINERONG Pilipino nearly blew a double-digit lead but hung tough in the end to come away with a 94-92 victory over Zarks Burger-LPU in the opener of the PBA D-League Aspirants Cup on Thursday at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig.
The veteran-laden Skippers were quick to stamp their authority on the younger Jawbreakers, zooming to a 13-point halftime lead behind Papot Paredes and Gab Banal.
CJ Perez and the Jawbreakers, however, had other plans as they put up a spirited comeback in the fourth, with Perez scoring six and assisting on one to trim the Skippers' lead to just two, 87-85, with 1:46 left.
But the Koy Banal-mentored squad showed steely nerves in the end, with Michael Ayonyon draining two of three free throws after being fouled from beyond the arc, before Renzo Subido drained four free throws to ice the game.
"We've known coach Topex since he was playing sa PBA. Kung ano’ng laro ng coach, yun magiging laro ng players," said Marinero head coach Koy Banal.
"This team will fight until the end, grind through the game down stretch and that's what weve been reminding our players. Good thing the players stepped up," he added.
Subido paced the Skippers with 20 points and five assists, while Ayonayon added 15.
Banal made up for his 10 turnovers with a double-double of 14 points and 14 boards.
Paredes also finished with 14, while Billy Ray Robles chipped in 10.
JC Marcelino led the Jawbreakers with 20 markers, with Perez adding 19 points and five assists.
Marinerong Pilipino 94 – Subido 20, Ayonayon 15, Paredes 14, Banal 14, Robles 10, Tolentino 4, Tratter 4, Pasaol 4, Terso 3, Lopez 2, Inigo 2, Babilonia 2, Toth 0.
Zarks-Lyceum 92 – Marcelino JC 20, Perez 19, Nzeusseu 18, Ayaay 11, Ibanez 6, Marcelino JV 6, Cinco 5, Tansingco 3, Santos 2, Pretta 2, Marata 0, Liwag 0.
Quarterscores: 17-19; 47-34; 69-58; 94-92.