CJ Perez rescued Zark's Burger-Lyceum in the clutch and the Jawbreakers kept their semi-finals hopes alive in the 2018 PBA D-League Aspirants' Cup with a thrilling 104-95 victory over Centro Escolar University Tuesday at Pasig Sports Center.
Jaycee Marcelino added 16 points and six rebounds while twin brother Jayvee Marcelino got 11 markers, four dimes, and three boards as Zark's-Lyceum held strong despite losing an 18-point advantage, 49-31, in the first half.
The reigning NCAA MVP poured 11 straight points in the fourth quarter to turn an 88-90 deficit to a commanding 99-92 advantage with 1:41 remaining as the Jawbreakers forced a do-or-die game against the Scorpions in their quarterfinal duel on Thursday.
Perez wound up with 26 points on top of his five rebounds, five assists, and two steals for Zark's Burger-Lyceum.
"If CJ missed those shots, we might've lost the game, but that's CJ for us. He's gonna win games, he's gonna lose games," said coach Topex Robinson. "Luckily for us today, he was in his rhythm and they really wanted to win."
It wasn't all Perez as Mike Nzeusseu also had a solid effort with 28 markers, 12 boards, and two blocks.
Robinson, though, has his sights set on Game 2, where the winner will face two-seed Marinerong Pilipino in the best-of-three semi-finals.
"We know that they're gonna bounce back. We know they're champions and they have the experience. There's no reason for us to celebrate. We'll make adjustments for Thursday," he said.
Returning from a back injury, Rod Ebondo led CEU with 32 points and 25 rebounds that went for naught.
ZARK'S BURGER-LYCEUM 104 -- Nzeusseu 28, Perez 26, Jc. Marcelino 16, Jv. Marcelino 11, Ayaay 10, Iba?ez 5, Caduyac 3, Tansingco 3, Pretta 2, Cinco 0, Serrano 0.
CEU 95 -- Ebondo 32, Fuentes 14, Aquino 12, Manlangit 9, Chan 7, Wamar 7, Cruz 6, Arim 5, Caballero 3, Guinitaran 0, Intic 0, Saber 0, Veron 0.
Quarters: 32-21, 62-55, 75-79, 104-95.