FRUITAS finally got going in the absence of Ola Adeogun, defeating Erase XFoliant, 78-73, on Thursday to snap its two-game losing skid in the PBA D-League Aspirants Cup at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig City.
Shaking off the absence of their injured Nigerian center, the Shakers finally ended an alarming slide for their second victory in five games, moving up to sixth place in a tie with Erase XFoliant and Cebuana Lhuillier.
Adeogun sat out his second straight game after he sprained his right ankle against Blackwater. His absence had been a blow to the team's morale, according to Fruitas coach Nash Racela.
“We have to accept that Ola is not playing for us because he is injured,” said Racela. “Their feeling is that they are expecting na andoon pa rin si Ola pero the reality is that wala siya.”
“So I asked the boys to commit, not just the players but the whole coaching staff, everybody, into winning the game without Ola,” Racela added.
Carlo Lastimosa and ex-pro Pong Escobal picked up the slack for Fruitas with 30 and 18 points, respectively, and sparked a 10-2 finishing run that clinched the victory.
Escobal hit the game-tying triple followed by a layup by Lastimosa, 73-71.
Marlon Gomez, who led the Erasers with 20 points, scored the equalizer but Jason Escueta hit a jumper for the go-ahead score for Fruitas with one minute and 38 seconds remaining.
Lastimosa then split his two charities, giving the Erasers another opening. But George Allen missed an uncontested three-point try that could have tied the score and Lastimosa completed a fastbreak lay-up to settle the final count.
Fruitas 78 – Lastimosa 30, Escobal 18, Colina 9, Escueta 8, Dela Rosa 5, Mendoza 2, Pascual 2, Silungan 2, Terso 2, Caram 0, Belleza 0, Paguia 0.
Erase XFoliant 73 – Gomez 20, Najorda 10, Matute 10, Allen 9, Vidal 9, Babayemi 7, Omorogbe 5, Arboleda 3, Banal 0, Acosta 0, Stevens 0.
Quarterscores: 19-26, 40-42, 58-60, 78-73.