CEBUANA Lhuillier defeated Jumbo Plastic Linoleum, 85-81, on Monday to reach the semifinals of the PBA D-League Aspirants Cup at The Arena in San Juan.
Five players scored in double figures for the Gems, who overcame the Giants’ twice-to-beat quarterfinal advantage.
The Gems face top-ranked Cagayan Valley in the best-of-three semifinals starting on Thursday.
Norbert Torres had 17 points, Allan Mangahas poured in 15 for the Gems, Simon Enciso and Almond Vosotros each had 12, and Kevn Ferrer chipped in with 10.
Cebuana Lhuillier coach Boycie Zamar said it was a huge accomplishment for the Gems, with a new cast this season, to make it to the semifinals as the fifth seed.
“We were struggling this season dahil, let’s face it, our key players na naglalaro sa amin this season is definitely new but that doesn’t mean they are superstars. ’Yun ’yung challenge na na-overcome nila,” said Zamar.
Torres sank a jumper to give the Gems an 82-79 lead with 33.5 seconds to play in the fourth. Prior to that, Mangahas scored five in a 6-0 run that tied the game at 73, averting a Jumbo Plastic run.
Enciso had eight points in the first half and Vosotros had 10 markers in the first period that saw the Gems convert their first seven shots.
The Giants were able to mount a comeback, making it 73-67 halfway through the fourth period before the Gems extinguished the fire.
Cebuana Lhuillier (85) —Torres 17, A. Mangahas 15, Enciso 12, Vosotros 12, Ferrer 10, Zamar 8, Bautista 5, Guinto 3, Lopez 2, Villahermosa 1, Sarangay 0.
Jumbo Plastic (81) —Paniamogan 15, Sabellina 11, Tiongson 11, Eguilos 10, Khobuntin 8, Villamor 6, Colina 6, Javier 5, Cruz 3, Terso 3, Rios 3, Rosales 0.
Quarterscores: 28-24; 51-40; 65-59; 85-81.