FRUITAS drew big games from Carlo Lastimosa and Ola Adeogun to beat Informatics, 85-74, on Tuesday at the JCSGO gym in Quezon City and stay in the hunt for a twice-to-beat edge in the quarterfinal round of the PBA D-League Aspirants Cup.
Lastimosa, College of Saint Benilde’s top scorer, had 23 points while San Beda’s Nigerian big man Adeogun had 11 points and 21 rebounds to spark the Shakers.
Fruitas recorded its fourth win in seven outings, still far from the idle leaders NLEX (9-1), Big Chill (5-2) and Blackwater (5-2) but firmly in the top six.
Only six of the 11 teams make it to the next phase of the tournament. The top two move to the semifinals outright, while the third and fourth placers after the elimination round will have a twice-to-beat advantage in the quarterfinals.
The effects of the long holiday break showed in the first half as the Shakers struggled to find their rhythm — Mike Silungan, Kyle Pascual, and Jason Escueta have just arrived from the United States, while others also had a long break during the Christmas season.
Fruitas only managed to pull away from the Icons side following a 9-2 run in the fourth, and coach Nash Racela noted that they managed to pull of the win by matching the Icons’ physical play.
“Obviously, we were struggling in the first half. We were expecting the physicality. I really believe that they (Icons) were due for a win because they play tough everytime,” said Racela.
“Good thing our players were able to level up with the physicality dahil kapag hindi, titiklop kami,” he added.
Fruitas (85) – Lastimosa 23, Escobal 11, Adeogun 11, Caram 11, Dela Rosa 9, Colina 6, Mendoza 5, Terso 4, Koga 2, Belleza 2, Antonio 1.
Informatics (74) – Benitez 19, Rogado 16, Bautista 11, Rublico 9, Del Rosario 6, Hayes 6, Melegrito 4, Ablaza 2, Cabonce 1, Sanghera 0, Cruz 0.
Quarterscores: 16-20; 40-35; 63-60; 85-74.