CENTRO Escolar U outlasted the PSP Gymers in double overtime, 109-107, to stay in the race for a semifinal berth in the 2023 PBA D-League Aspirants' Cup Thursday at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig City.
"Like our game against Letran in OT, I challenged them and they responded. It's a big win for us at iyon nga, still hoping na makaangat pa lalo sa rankings."
Ron Rei Tolentino saved the day for CEU with the go-ahead trey in the last 18 seconds as the Scorpions improved to 3-2 record and set up crucial duel against Marinerong Pilipino-San Beda on Tuesday.
Franz Ray Diaz scattered 21 points with five rebounds and seven assists to show the way for the Scorpions while Tolentino finished with 20-points, 10 rebounds, five assists and three steals.
Another win by CEU against San Beda (4-1) on Tuesday gives the Scorpions a bright chance of finishing the eliminations in the Top Two and the luxury of an outright semifinal berth.
"Wala na 'yung Xs and Os dito eh. It's all about heart. And hats off to our players for not giving up. Hindi sila sumuko against a veteran team like PSP," said CEU coach Jeff Perlas.
It was a heartbreaking loss for the Gymers appeared on the way to another stunning win until Tolentino completed a 3-point play late in regulation to force the first overtime.
Jerome Santos, Ayodeji Victor Balogun and Mark Anthony Anagbogu chipped in 16, 15 and 12 points, respectively, for the Scorpions, who battled the Gymers to 21 lead changes and 16 deadlocks.
Mark Meneses collared 22 points, grabbed 21 rebounds, three steals and six blocks while Comboy had 19 for Gymers, who slid to 2-4 but is assured of a quarterfinals spot.
CEU 109 - Diaz 21, Tolentino 20, Santos 16, Balogun 15, Anagbogu 12, Bernabe 9, Cabotaje 7, Borromeo 3, Pe?ano 2, Puray 2, Malicana 2, Javier 0, Joson 0, Ferrer 0.
PSP 107 - Meneses 22, Comboy 19, Acu?a 15, Dela Cruz 14, Bayla 13 Mohammad 9, Yutuc 7, Yu 4, Sumagaysay 2, Velchez 2, Castillo 0, Olegario 0.
Quarterscores: 18-22, 40-38, 62-56, 82-82, 99-99, 109-107 (2OT).