MANILA, Philippines – Zark's Burger-Lyceum of the Philippines University (LPU) continued its Cinderella run in the PBA D-League Aspirants' Cup, as the Jawbreakers pulled off a thrilling 90-87 overtime win over Marinerong Pilipino in Game 1 of their semifinal series on Tuesday at the Pasig Sports Center.
Mike Nzeusseu iced the victory for Zark's-LPU with a rim-rattling slam dunk with just 5.5 seconds remaining in the extra period, and Josep Terso went short on a potential game-tying three-pointer in the next possession for Marinero.
"I don't know how they do it, but these guys just don't know how to quit," said coach Topex Robinson. "We just kept on persisting, and they did not give up."
It was a 16-point comeback for the Jawbreakers, who trailed 54-38 in the third period.
Nzeusseu finished with 20 points, nine rebounds, and two blocks, while Jaycee Marcelino also scored 20 points on an efficient 9-of-14 clip.
CJ Perez scored seven of his team's final 10 points in regulation, giving the Jawbreakers an 81-78 advantage.
Billy Robles forced overtime for Marinerong Pilipino, thanks to a split at the line and a putback in the last 23.1 seconds.
Perez had a chance to win the game for Zark's-LPU late, but he missed two charities in the final 3.2 seconds, giving the Skippers a chance to steal the game. Fortunately for the Jawbreakers, Jeric Serrano was able to stifle Gab Banal's attempt at a three-pointer, sending the game to overtime.
In the extra period, it was Terso who misfired on a triple, giving Zark's-LPU a 1-0 lead in the best-of-3 series.
The Jawbreakers can advance to the finals with another win on Game 2, scheduled on Thursday at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig.
Rian Ayonayon led the Skippers with 22 points, 11 rebounds, and four assists, while Banal had 18 markers and nine boards.
ZARK’S BURGER-LYCEUM 90 — Jc. Marcelino 20, Nzeusseu 20, Baltazar 15, Perez 14, Jv. Marcelino 10, Ayaay 6, Caduyac 4, Serrano 1, Cinco 0, Ibañez 0, Tansingco 0, Yong 0.
MARINERONG PILIPINO 87 — Ayonayon 22, Banal 18, Pasaol 12, Robles 11, Tratter 10, Toth 6, Babilonia 4, Iñigo 2, Terso 2, Eboña 0, Miranda 0, Tolentino 0.
Quarters: 23-20, 35-43, 59-65, 81-81, 90-87.
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