CEBUANA Lhuillier turned back Air 21 Jose Rizal University, 77-73, on Thursday to secure a place in the quarterfinals of the PBA D-League Aspirants Cup at Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig City.
JRU, Cebuana and Fruitas ended the elimination round with identical 5-5 win-loss cards, but the Shakers wound up in the bottom of the pack and out of the quarterfinal race due to inferior quotient.
Cebuana Lhuillier’s win also kept the Heavy Bombers from claiming a twice-to-beat advantage in the quarterfinals.
The Gems trailed by as many as 10 points, 45-55, with 1:29 remaining in the third, but came charging in the final canto with a 9-1 run capped by a Rex Leynes basket to tie the game, 65-all, within a minute stretch.
The Gems poured in six unanswered points to grab the upper hand, 62-58.
JRU trimmed its deficit to one, 71-72, after a Jeckster Apinan three-point play and a John Pinto charity with 46 seconds left before but the Gems scored five consecutive points to seal the win.
"Whoever has high intensity in the fourth quarter will win the game," said Cebuana coach Beaujing Acot.
"James Martinez, he's really a leader that's why I took him, Leynes is a dark horse, everybody contributed, we are jelling and I hope it's getting better," added Acot.
James Martinez led Cebuana with 16 points, while James Mangahas added 10.
Dexter Maiquez produced 17 markers for JRU, while Apinan contributed 12.
Cebuana Lhuillier (77) - Martinez 16, Mangahas 10, Sanga 9, Leynes 9, Bustos 8, Banal 7, Zamar 7, Aguilar 4, Dizon 4, Buensuceso 2, Rowe 1, Custodio 0, Bautista 0, Sarangay 0.
Air 21 JRU (73) - Maiquez 17, Apinan 12, Pinto 10, Paniamogan 8, Ighalo 6, Miranda 6, Mabulac 5, Del Rio 4, Mirza 2, Caperal 2, Villarias 1, Almario 0.
Quarterscores: 20-19; 34-38; 47-55; 77-73.