Manalang drops 40 as retooled AMA holds off Batangas-EAC for breakthrough win
Robbie Manalang sizzled for 40 points to carry AMA to its first win in the Aspirants Cup. Dante Peralta

AMA Online Education’s roster shakeup paid instant dividends with its first win at the expense of Batangas-EAC, 96-93, in the PBA D-League Aspirants' Cup on Monday at the JCSGO Gym in Cubao.

After tapping marquee players like Kyles Lao, James Martinez, Arvin Tolentino, and Mac Andaya in the week leading up to the match, the Titans looked like a rejuvenated squad as they picked up their first victory in four matches.

It was Robbie Manalang, though, who shone the brightest with 40 points, including 14 in the fourth period, in just his second game in an AMA uniform.

Martinez had 18 points, Genmar Bragais pumped in 17 markers and seven rebounds, and Rocky Antonares added 12 points.

However, Andaya sat out the match as he was still fixing his schedule, said AMA coach Mark Herrera.

Still, Herrera is proud of how his wards fared.

"Napagod na rin yung players kanina e," said Herrera, who also missed the services of injured big man Andre Paras.

"Nag-lack kami sa defense sa huli. Tingin ko dun kami maga-adjust." 

The Titans built a 28-point cushion in the first half which was big enough to fend off a late-game surge by the Generals.

The victory also added to the misery of the Generals, who slid to their fourth straight loss. 

Cedrick De Joya fired 21 points for the Generals, while Cedric Ablaza and Jerome Garcia scored 17 and 15 markers, respectively.


The Scores:

AMA ONLINE EDUCATION 96 — Manalang 40, Martinez 18, Bragais 17, Antonares 12, Tolentino 6, Lao 3, Escalambre 0, Garcia 0, Jordan 0, Matillano 0, Porter 0.

BATANGAS-EAC 93 — De Joya 21, Ablaza 17, Garcia 15, E. Mendoza 11, Diego 10, Laude 6, Bautista 4, Dela Peña 3, Maguliano 2, J. Mendoza 2, Tampoc 2, Martin 0, Neri 0.

Quarterscores: 26-8, 52-26, 71-58, 96-93. 

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