Jonathan Espeleta warmed up early and Sean Manganti provided the finishing touches to lead Akari-Adamson to a 98-92 bounce back win at the expense of Go for Gold Tuesday in the 2018 PBA D-League Aspirants' Cup at Pasig Sports Center.
Manganti finished with 14 points while Papi Sarr had a double-double with 10 points and 11 rebounds for Akari-Adamson, which improved to 2-1 record.
Espeleta, the incoming third-year forward, came out off the gates on fire, unleashing 19 of his 24 points in the first quarter to help the Falcons assert early control with an 18-3 opening salvo. Go for Gold led as much as 25, 69-44 late in the third quarter.
The Scratchers got to within 86-80 on J-Jay Alejandro's basket to make the game interesting early in the fourth.
"We're still in the process of experimenting," said coach Franz Pumaren, who seemed unfazed even though the Falcons nearly suandered a double-digit lead.
"We have six new guys in our team and we're trying to make sure they all get minutes. That's why we're here, so that we can explore what the players are capable of doing and preparing us for the bigger leagues,"Pumaren explained.
Alejandro tallied 19 points on a 5-of-7 three-point shooting and Matt Salem chipped in 15 markers, nine rebounds for the Scratchers, who lost two in a rown and fell to 1-2 slate.
AKARI-ADAMSON 98 -- Espeleta 24, Manganti 14, Lojera 13, Lastimosa 12, Ahanmisi 11, Sarr 10, Catapusan 4, Buenaventura 3, Bernardo 2, Hill 2, Macion 2, Mojica 1, Camacho 0, Longalong 0.
GO FOR GOLD 92 -- Alejandro 19, Salem 15, Dixon 12, Gutang 12, Casi?o 9, Domingo 6, Gaco 6, Leutcheu 6, Pasturan 3, Naboa 2, Pili 2, Young 0.
Quarters: 32-18, 56-40, 74-60, 98-92.