MANILA — Aaron Jeruta put the University of San Agustin Gym into frenzy as he scored the winning basket for Iloilo, which survived Zamboanga, 60-58, in a crucial MPBL Lakan Season game on Saturday night.
Jeruta, who struggled all game long scored on a layup against the defense of Robin Roño with 12.4 seconds left to break the 58-all deadlock.
“Aaron will always be Aaron. Sa wakas. Ilang game nang gigil na gigil siya. Sa wakas naman ay nabigiyan siya ng (Finally. He was longing for that opportunity. Finally, he was given a) chance for that bucket,” said coach Eric Gonzales on Jeruta’s game-winner.
Zamboanga still tried to steal the road win, but Anton Asistio and Santi Santillan misfired in their three-point attempts as time expired.
Alfrancis Tamsi led Iloilo, which zoomed to the fifth spot in the Southern Division at 16-10, with 17 points, three rebounds, and one steal.
Rey Publico added 14 points and nine rebounds.
Santillan made 15 markers, five boards, and one block for Zamboanga, which slipped to the sixth seed at 16-11.
Meanwhile, San Juan romped Davao Occidental, 84-65, in their highly anticipated finals rematch.
The Knights took control of much of the first half, opening a 43-17 lead with four minutes left in the half.
The Tigers tried to bounce back in the second half, drawing to within eight, 57-65, with 6:05 left in the game, but the Knights answered with the game-deciding 13-0 run to up the lead back to 21.
“Siyempre, nagulat kami sa maagang lamang, pero lumaban kami sa depensa, sa dikdikan. Naka-match kami, naka-execute at gumana ang depensa namin (Of course, the early lead surprised us but we fought back in defense. We’re able to match, executive and our defense worked),” said coach Randy Alcantara after the win.
Orlan Wamar put up 15 points, two rebounds, and two assists off the bench for San Juan, whose league-best record is now at 23-3, stretching its lead over Manila for the Northern Division top seed to a full game.
Yvan Ludovice and Mark Yee each had 14 markers for Davao Occidental, which fell to 21-4, with the latter achieving a double-double with 14 rebounds. (PNA)