DEXTER Maiquez hit the go-ahead baskets in the crucial stages as Jose Rizal University beat Café France, 66-62, on Tuesday at the JCSGO gym to boost its quarterfinal bid in the PBA D-League Aspirants Cup.
Maiquez topscored with 15 points and nailed a high-arcing jumper with 40.5 seconds remaining to break a 62-62 deadlock before hitting two clutch free throws with 17.5 ticks on the clock.
The San Sebastian cager in last season’s NCAA wars grabbed a rebound off Alvin Padilla’s last ditch effort to bring the game close ending the Bakers’ hopes.
The Heavy Bombers are still on the outside looking in for a quarterfinal seat, grabbing a share of seventh place with Cebuana Lhuillier following their third win in seven outings.
Café France dropped to sixth place sporting a 4-4 card and has lost its second straight game following the Bakers’ landmark win over three-time defending champion NLEX.
The third and sixth placers will head to the quarterfinal round with the two teams with better records having a twice-to-beat advantage.
JRU head coach Vergel Meneses remained confident about the team’s chances of making it to the quarterfinals.
“Close lang naman ‘yung mga nasa taas kaya mataas pa morale ng mga bata,” Meneses said.
Maiquez’s winning scores preserved the Heavy Bombers’ effort after seeing Café France turned their 21-9 lead into a 30-33 deficit at halftime.
JRU even led, 60-51, after an 8-0 blast but Roger Pogoy was able to tie the match-up for Café France at 62 on a short stab with two minutes and seven seconds to play.
Meanwhile, JRU’s John Lopez left the game in the second period after sustaining a broken nose.
JRU (66) – Maiquez 15, Apinan 14, Mabulac 11, Mirza 7, Paniamogan 5, Miranda 4, Pinto 2, Caperal 2, Almario 2, Ighalo 2, Del Rio 2, Villarias 0, Lopez 0.
Café France (62) – Pogoy 15, Magat 12, Knuttel 11, Dela Cruz 10, Padilla 4, Parala 3, Antipuesto 3, Alas 2, Gallardo 2, Mendoza 0, Jamon 0, Magbitang 0.
Quarterscores: 11-7, 30-33, 51-49, 66-62.