Lester Alvares came off the bench to score a game-high 17 points, including three clutch free throws to help Cebuana Lhuillier beat Erase Plantacenta,84-77, on Tuesday in the PBA D-League Foundation Cup at the Treston gym in Taguig City,
The count was tied at 77-77 when Erase Plantcenta forward Marlon Gomez was called for a foul while going after Alvarez, who heaved from the trifecta zone.
Alvarez, who went 11 of 12 from the line, made all his free throws to put the Gems ahead to stay with 61 seconds remaining.
“We got what we wanted. Now the pressure is on Big Chill. Its up to them whether they want to be in the semis,” said Cebuana Lhuillier coach Beaujing Acot, who admitted his chargers played bad.
“I guess the players were a little over confident,” he said.
Should Big Chill (6-2) wins against RnW Pacific Pipes on Thursday and tie the Gems (7-2) at second spot, the Super Chargers would clinch the second outright semis berth up for grabs because of the winner of the other rule.
“We’ll just wait and see,” Acot said.
Pari Llagas scored 15 points while James Mangahas, Chris Exciminiano and Vic Manuel had 11 apiece for the Gems, who outscored the Erasers, 14-6, in the last four minutes.
With a quarterfinal berth at stake, Erase Plantcenta played its best basketball in the conference and led by as many as 10 points (53-43) on a 3-pointer by Jett Vidal early in the third quarter.
But the Erasers couldn’t hold on to it, missing many attempts on poor shot selections and hurried plays.
They effectively blew away whatever chance to turn the game around when Vidal, who led all scorers with 18 points, slipped while trying to run the pick and roll late in the game.
Allan Mangahas scored 17 points, Gomez had 13 and Macky Acosta added 12 for Erase Plantcenta, which went scoreless in the final two minutes.
Cebuana Lhuillier 84 – Alvarez 17, Llagas 15, Mangahas 11, Exciminiano 11, Manuel 11, Miranda 7, Lozada 7, Taha 4, Almazan 2, Celeda 0, Atkins 0, Austria 0.
Erse Plantcenta 77 – Vidal 18, Mangahas 17, Gomez 13, Acosta 12, Sarangay 10, Fererria 4, Flores 2, Stevens 1, Vijandre 0, Torres 0, Ighalo 0, Dizon 0,
Quarters: 22-19; 39-41; 62-60; 84-77