Ceramica rally past Titans, share lead

SHOOTING STRAIGHT - Kristina Villanueva - The Philippine Star
Ceramica rally past Titans, share lead
AMA Online Education Titans’ Jeron Teng drives against Kent Salado of Racal Tile Ceramica in their game at the Ynares Arena in Pasig yesterday.

MANILA, Philippines - Racal blew an early 12-point lead but fought back from a seven-point deficit down the stretch to pull off a 78-73 victory over AMA Online Education in the PBA D-League Aspirants’ Cup at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig last night.

Kent Salado and Jackson Corpuz came through with clutch baskets in the last 1:03 to seal the victory for Ceramica, who tied the idle Jose Rizal U side at 2-0.

“Actually, we underestimated AMA because of their height. We used to play like that in the NCAA. We used to play small. We weren’t able to adjust with our defense. It’s a good thing that with their efforts, they believed that we could win,” said Racal coach Jerry Codiñera.

Salado paced Racal with 16 points and four assists, Sydney Onwubere put in a double-double output of 14 points and 11 rebounds and Rey Nambatac contributed 10 markers.

Jeron Teng shot 23 points on a 10-for-25 clip and 10 rebounds while Juami Tiongson backed Teng with 21 points, including 15 in the second quarter, for the Titans, who dropped to 2-1.

Earlier, Batangas proved steadier down the stretch as it outlasted Victoria Sports, 88-85, to notch its first victory in three starts.

Cedric Ablaza scored on an undergoal stab off a pass by Dan Sara to secure the victory for the Batangueños.

Victoria Sports bungled four attempts at the basket, including a potential game-tying trey by Zach Nicholls with 3.2 seconds left in the contest.

“I’m happy because I could see the growth of the team. There are still a lot to improve on but I am glad they did not back down despite many lapses,” said Batangas coach Eric Gonzales.

Joseph Serudifa dished out a double-double performance of 17 points and 10 rebounds with five assists to boot, Ablaza hit 15 markers and collared seven rebounds while Sara and Chris dela Peña poured 15 and 14 points, respectively, for Batangas.

Two players from Victoria Sports finished with double-double outputs with Robert Herndon tallying 27 markers and 11 rebounds and Aris Dionisio collecting 10 points and 11 boards while Rian Ayonayon came a rebound shy of a double-double with 10 points.

Victoria Sports took its second straight setback.

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