MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – The Zark’s-LPU Jawbreakers outworked the Che’lu-San Sebastian Revellers on Labor Day, Tuesday, May 1, 91-82, to take the PBA D-League Aspirants' Cup championship at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig.
Bruising big man Mike Nzeusseu, with the help of Conference MVP CJ Perez, tied the contest at 72 early in the fourth, successfully erasing a 13-point deficit they were staring at in the third quarter.
One possession later, Nzeusseu was fouled on the drive and calmly sank the go-ahead freebies for the 74-72 lead. The terrific Perez-Nzeusseu tandem then continued the offensive onslaught with masterful fastbreaks, culminating in a 91-76 lead off a 27-6 run with a minute left in regulation.
The game looked all but over entering the second half, as the dynamic duo of Samboy De Leon and Mike Calisaan orchestrated a huge 18-5 rally to put the Revellers up 13, 60-47. But the tenacious Marcelino twin defense and pinpoint Jesper Ayaay marksmanship helped trim that lead to 6, 57-63, before former Batangas-EAC General Cedrick Ablaza silenced the crescendo of cheers with back-to-back and-ones for the 69-59 advantage.
Nzeusseu, however, gave a preview of the incoming fourth quarter with a bullying and-one to end the period with the Revellers just down 6, 64-70.
The 6th-seeded Zark’s-LPU is now the lowest-ranked team in history to ever win the PBA D-League championship.
ZARK'S BURGER-LYCEUM 92 -- Nzeusseu 28, Perez 26, Ayaay 14, Jc. Marcelino 7, Jv. Marcelino 6, Caduyac 5, Tansingco 3, Iba?ez 2, Serrano 1, Baltazar 0, Pretta 0, Yong 0.
CHE'LU BAR AND GRILL-SAN SEBASTIAN 82 -- Calisaan 17, Batino 12, Costelo 12, Ablaza 11, Bulanadi 8, De Leon 8, David 6, Collado 4, Ilagan 2, Taganas 2, Siruma 0.
Quarters: 21-18, 37-42, 64-70, 92-82.