JERRICK Balanza hit the go-ahead basket to lift Wang’s-Letran over Batangas-Emilio Aguinaldo College, 94-92, on Thursday in the PBA D-League Aspirants Cup at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig City.
A battle for the loose ball at center court led to Balanza converting a lay-up to break a 92-all deadlock with four seconds left in the fourth quarter. Jerome Garcia, who tied the game prior to Balanza’s basket, missed on a wide-open three on Batangas-EAC’s last possession.
With the win, Wang’s ended the Aspirants Cup at seventh with a 6-5 win-loss record but coach Jeff Napa had reasons to be optimistic as the team, whose core has the Letran Knights, is preparing for the coming NCAA season.
“Although disappointing, magandang experience din ito pagpasok namin sa season ng NCAA. Maraming natutunan mga bata,” Napa said.
Balanza finished the game with 26 points, while Christian Fajarito had a double-double, contributing 23 points, 11 rebounds, and two blocks for Wang’s. Bonbon Batiller added 18 points.
Batangas-EAC capped off the conference with a 2-9 mark. Cedrick Ablaza had 25 points and 15 rebounds as he spearheaded a comeback bid by the Generals, who trailed by as many as 12 points in the game.
Wang’s-Letran 94 - Balanza 26, Fajarito 23, Batiller 18, Calvo 13, Publico 8, Mandreza 2, Muyang 1, Taladua 1, Yu 1, Ambohot 1, Balagasay 0.
Batangas-EAC 92 - Ablaza 25, De Joya 18, Mendoza 12, Tampoc 11, Garcia 10, Mendoza 8, Dela Pena 3, Bugarin 2, Martin 2, Maguliano 1, Corilla 0, Neri 0, Altamirano 0.
Quarterscores: 12-19; 40-38; 75-69; 94-92.