JASON ‘Jumbo’ Escueta saved Jumbo Plastic from an embarrassing endgame collapse by hitting a key jumper in the closing minutes of an 80-75 victory over lowly Informatics in the PBA D-League Foundation Cup at The Arena in San Juan Monday.
Escueta converted the timely basket in the final 69 seconds to preserve the win for the Linoleum Giants, who nearly blew a 15-point lead entering the final period.
The game-saving shot of the former Ateneo Blue Eagle made it a 78-75 Jumbo Plastic lead, before a missed triple by the wide-open Jeric Teng with five seconds left all but ended Informatics’ bid to send the game into overtime.
The Icons had pulled to within 76-75 on a Teng three-pointer with 2:20 to play when Escueta came to Jumbo Plastic’s rescue.
The Linoleum Giants won for only the second game in seven outings as they snapped a four-game losing skid. An opportunity for a quarterfinal berth however, remained a long shot for the newcomer team.
“We are still hoping,” said Jumbo Plastic coach Stevenson Tiu. “Baka maka-tsamba uli sa mga next games.”
Ex-Informatics stalwart Marvin Hayes led Jumbo Plastic with 17 points, while Jett Vidal and Macky Acosta added 11 each for the Linoleum Giants.
Jumbo Plastic entered the final period sitting on a comfortable 64-49 lead after outscoring Informatics, 25-15, in the third.
“Mas gusto pa namin manalo this time. Last few games, medyo kinapos kami sa dulo. Pinag-handaan talaga namin ito,” Tiu said.
The Icons remain winless in six games.
Teng led the Icons with 21 points, while Rocky Acidre added 17 points. Ramon Mabayo and Alvyn Cabonce had 13 and 10 rebounds apiece.
Jumbo Plastic (80) – Hayes 17, Escueta 13, Vidal 11, Acosta 11, Mariano 9, Tan 8, Del Rosario 4, Najorda 4, Daquioag 3, Ignacio 0, Gomez 0.
Informatics (75) – Teng 21, Acidre 17, Cabonce 7, Mabayo 7, Altamirano 6, Benitez 6, Matute 6, Melegrito 4, Ablaza 1, Acuna 0.
Quarterscores: 17-16; 39-34; 64-49; 80-75.