ZARK’S Burger–Lyceum completed an ‘all-underdog’ finals in the PBA D-League Aspirants Cup as it swept Marinerong Pilipino in the semifinals with a 102-89 win on Thursday at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig.
The sixth-seeded Jawbreakers set-up a date with the fourth-seed Che’Lu Bar and Grill-San Sebastian after becoming the lowest-seeded squad to make the finals in D-League history.
Game One is scheduled this Tuesday at the Pasig Sports Center.
“It’s just a blessing for us to be here. We’re so grateful that we’re given the opportunity to play in the Finals,” said coach Topex Robinson who’ll be making his third finals appearance in six months with the same core after Lyceum made the NCAA and PCCL championship stage.
“I just want to make sure that it’s not about Topex, not about CJ (Perez). It’s everybody really helping each other,” he added.
Trailing 54-48 with 7:30 left in the third, CJ Perez and MJ Ayaay sparked a blistering 26-4 run in a span of six minutes to take a 74-58 lead and the Skippers never recovered from there.
The Jawbreakers showed no signs of let-up in the payoff period and even erected an 18-point lead following a JC Marcelino lay-up to cap off a breakaway victory.
“Sa amin naman, we’re just happy to be here. We don’t have control, sa amin lang, we just had to prepare. We just wanted to enjoy,” Robinson continued.
Perez led the way for the Jawbreakers with 23 points, six rebounds, five assists and four steals as Mike Nzeusseu chipped in 15 points and nine boards. Ayaay came off the bench to score 13 markers, most of which coming in the third period.
Rian Ayonayon was fantastic for Marinero with 31 points, nine boards and four assists but had little help against a spirited Jawbreakers squad.