PETRON-LETRAN escaped St. Clare College Virtual Reality by the skin of its teeth, 91-90, Monday to gain solo third place in the Aspirants Group of the 2019 PBA D-League at JCSGO Gym in Cubao.
Controversy marred the Knights’ tight win as Saints forward Junjie Hallare was whistled for an offensive foul on a moving screen as he tried to free up Paul Santos for the potential game-winner with 1.7 seconds remaining.
"Moving screen eh," said Knights coach Bonnie Tan. "Hindi naman ako referee, but in my view, ganoon yung nangyari."
It was a great escape for Petron-Letran, which led by 28 points in the first half and still had to fend off a tough fightback from St. Clare.
Alvin Pasaol ignited the hot start, dropping 10 in the first quarter as the Knights gained an early 31-11 lead, but had to rescue the Knights late as he scored eight of their final 11 points. He finished with 28 points, seven rebounds and three assists.
Jerrick Balanza added 22 points and five rebounds, making the game-saving assist to Christian Balagasay who scored the go-ahead layup in the final 13 seconds.
Jeo Ambohot just missed out on a double-double with 11 points and nine rebounds, as Jeremiah Taladua also scored 11 for Petron-Letran, which rose to a 5-2 win-loss card.
"Parati kong sinasabi na we joined this league to learn and get experience. Hopefully itong laro na ito, at least we learned kung paano mag-contain ng lead namin," said Tan.
St. Clare slipped to 4-2.
Hallare topped the Saints with 22 points, 13 coming in the failed fourth quarter rally, on top of seven rebounds.
Petron- Letran 91 - Pasaol 28, Balanza 22, Ambohot 11, Taladua 11, Balagasay 6, Caralipio 4, Olivario 4, Reyson 2, Ular 2, Sangalang 1, Mina 0.
St. Clare 90 - Hallare 22, Pare 20, Rivera 18, Fontanilla 9, Rubio 8, Lunor 8, Santos 3, Palencia 2, Fuentes 0.
Quarterscores: 34-13; 54-35; 74-55; 91-90.