NAIL-BITER. Jerrick Ahanmisi (right) was clearly the best player of the game. PBA photo
MANILA, Philippines – In one of the early contenders for game of the season, the Akari-Adamson Soaring Falcons orchestrated a comeback stunner over the Marinerong Pilipino Skippers, 80-75, in their first-ever game of the 2018 PBA D-League Aspirants Cup in the Ynares Sports Arena, Thursday, January 25.
Marinerong Pilipino jumped to an early lead thanks to the sweet shooting of Billy Ray Robles and Kyle Toth, who both scored 8 points in the opening frame. Returning UST guard Enzo Subido and DLSU big man Abu Tratter showed up next for the Skippers in the 2nd quarter, scoring 7 and 6 points respectively, to put them up 10, 45-35. Akari stopped the bleeding a bit, but still trailed 48-42 at the half.
Jerrick Ahanmisi then exploded out of the gates for Akari at the start of the 3rd quarter, going on an 11-0 personal run capped off with an and-one three-pointer. Philip Paredes and Joseph Terso did their part for the Skippers but failed to match Ahanmisi’s eruption. After 3, Marinerong Pilipino only led by a bucket, 65-63.
Ahanmisi took care of that deficit to begin the 4th period, draining his 4th trey for the Akari go-ahead, 66-65. They then suffered an injury scare in the heat of the action as fill-in starting point guard Jerom Lastimosa landed hard on his back and had to be helped off the court.
Both teams went back-and-forth for the final 3 minutes and were in a tense deadlock with 23 seconds left in regulation. However, the Skippers committed a crucial mistake and turned the ball over to Ahanmisi, who then passed it to Simon Camacho for the and-1 layup. Almost immediately, the stands filled with Marinerong Pilipino fans started to empty out as the Skippers’ last-ditch trey clanked out.
Ahanmisi was the clear-cut choice for Player of the Game after finishing with a game-high 23 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists and 4/8 three-pointers. Sean Manganti followed him with 13 points and 3 boards. For the Skippers, it was Robles who still led the team in scoring with 13 points even though he was blanked for the entire second half.
Akari-Adamson 80 – Ahanmisi 23, Manganti 13, Lastimosa 9, Catapusan 8, Mojica 7, Hill 6, Buenaventura 4, Sarr 4, Camacho 3, Longalong 2, Espeleta 0, Bernardo 0, Macion 0, Lojera 0
Marinerong Pilipino 75 – Robles 13, Toth 11, Terso 9, Subido 9, Tratter 8, Paredes 8, Ayonayon 4, Banal 4, Babilonia 2, Tolentino 2, Lopez 2, Pasaol 2, Inigo 0, Olivares 0
QUARTERSCORES: 19-26, 42-48, 63-65, 80-75
STANDINGS (as of Jan. 25, 2018)
Go For Gold-CSB 1-0
Marinerong Pilipino 1-1
Gamboa-St. Clare 0-1
Mila’s Lechon 0-1