MPBL: Makati escapes Manila; Pasay stuns Rizal

Jeckster Apinan and Cedric Ablaza of Makati try to sandwich Marvin Hayes of Manila as they prepare to go for a rebound.
Jeckster Apinan and Cedric Ablaza of Makati try to sandwich Marvin Hayes of Manila as they prepare to go for a rebound.

Makati completed a comeback from 16 points down before pulling off a thrilling 99-98 escape win over powerhouse Manila, 99-98, in the MPBL Datu Cup late Thursday night at the Ynares Center in Antipolo.

Jeckster Apinan, who had a short-lived career in the PBA, played probably the biggest game of his life, as he came through with a game-winning layup in the last three seconds, allowing the Skyscrapers to complete a victory via the backdoor.

Trailing 64-48 in the third period, the Skyscrapers fought their way back and found themselves back in the game when a 14-3 run late in the said quarter got themselves back in the game.

Makati got a taste of the lead for the first time in a long while when Apinan split his charities for a 97-95 lead but Chris Bitoon, the pesky guard of Manila, knotted the count with a basket in the last 30 seconds.

The Skyscrapers tried to milk the clock in last play and went to ex-pro Rudy Lingganay, who missed a jumper as Aris Dionisio grabbed the rebound and was fouled in the process.

Dionisio, who stepped up big in Manila’s first win a week ago, could only make one of two shots from the line as Makati sued for time.

Inbounding the ball from midcourt, the ball went to Apinan, who drove strong to the basket and made a nifty layup that served as the marginal basket.

It left Manila only three seconds to map up a play, but without any timeouts left, the Stars were forced to rush to the other end and Riel Cervantes took a desperation heave as time expired.

Earlier, Pasay completed a similar come from behind win by turning back host Rizal, 87-81.

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