Gab Banal seizes spotlight as Go for Gold squeaks past AMA for back-to-back D-League wins
Gab Banal powers the Scratchers with a huge double-double. Dante Peralta

GAB Banal took matters into his own hands late to pull Go for Gold to an 86-83 squeaker past AMA Online Education on Thursday in the 2018 PBA D-League Foundation Cup at Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig.

The hardworking forward scored the Scratchers last six points and wound up with 28 points, 15 rebounds, four assists, and two blocks as they seized the early leadership at 2-0.

Kris Porter also had 14 points and five boards, while James Martinez had 10.

Despite the victory, coach Charles Tiu remained unsatisfied with how his team has been performing, admitting, “No disrespect to the two teams, but it's still like the preseason for us.”

“We haven't really had that much of games. It's just our fourth game as a team and wala pa yung chemistry.”

Go for Gold pulled off the win despite committing 23 turnovers, which turned to 22 easy points for AMA.

As much as he’s glad to come out on top, Tiu knows better to call out his team on what he felt were deficiencies on their game.

“Ang dami naming turnovers and I'm worried about our rebounding. It's a cause of concern, but we'll take the win. It's not a nice win because we could've won by a bit more,” he said.

The Titans had numerous chances to force overtime after Owen Graham brought his side within three, 86-83 in the final 41.5 seconds, and the window remained open after Martinez muffed an open trey.

But Edcor Marata went short on his triple from the top of the key as time expired.

The AMA defeat wasted Owen Graham’s 31-point, 24-rebound night as his team dropped to its second straight game to remain winless early in the conference.

Domark Matillano added 17 and six in the losing cause.

 

The scores:

GO FOR GOLD 86 — Banal 28, Porter 14, Martinez 10, Desiderio 7, Salem 7, Dennison 6, Gaco 6, Tolentino 5, Reyes 3, Castor 0, Pili 0, Wong 0.

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AMA ONLINE EDUCATION 83 — Graham 31, Matillano 17, Liwag 12, Palencia 12, Soriano 8, Marata 3, Alao 0, Barde 0, Cariaga 0, Lao 0.

Quarters: 18-29, 51-46, 72-69, 86-83.

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