MANILA, Philippines - Raymond Ilagan scored the go-ahead basket with still 67 seconds remaining and RnW Pacific Pipes held on for a 74-73 decision over Erase Plantcenta for its second straight win after back-to-back setbacks in the PBA D-League Foundation Cup at The Arena in San Juan yesterday.
Ilagan topscored with 21 points, capping his explosive outing with a hook shot in the lane over Macky Acosta and the Erasers up by one.
"Raymond has the potential. That's why he's our go-to-guy. All he needs is a little more aggressiveness," said Pacific Pipes coach Pido Jarencio of his 6-3 forward.
Ilagan, who went 9 of 14 from the floor, also grabbed 12 rebounds as Pac Pipes outrebounded Erase Plantcenta, 46-39.
JR Buensuceso finished with 19 points and Jeric Teng dished off six assists for the Steel Masters, who improved to 2-2 (win-loss) record.
"This end game win is big moral boost for the team. It's tough to win close games," said Jarencio.
In the other game, Blackwater Sports rallied in the fourth quarter and toppled Boracay Rum, 67-56, to tie idle Big Chill in second at 3-1.
Kelly Nabong scored 11 of his game-high 26 points in the fourth quarter and completed a double-double job with 15 rebounds while Clark Bautista and Jordan Mandani added 10 markers apiece.
Erase Plantcenta actually had a chance to steal the game with 13.2 seconds left but the Erasers failed to execute their play in the face of Pac Pipes' swarming defense.
Jayvee Ferreria and Acosto each scored 17 points and Allan Mangahas had 10 for the Erasers, who took a 73-70 lead on Jet Vidal lay up but went scoreless in the last 1:54.
The Steel Masters started strong with Ilagan and Buensuceso taking charge. Pac Pipes made 6 of 12 three-pointers but led by just 39-38 at halftime.
Pac Pipes slowed down in the third quarter, enabling the Erasers to wrest control behind a 9-2 run for a 56-49 lead on a pair of free throws by Mark Sarangay.
But Buensuceso rifled in a triple then scored on a fall away as Pac Pipes scored eight of the last 11 points of the quarter to tie the count at 59 going into the last period.
for the Elite, who came through with a decisive 18-0 run that turned a 42-49 deficit into an 11-point lead with 4:04 to play.
The Waves led 48-40 at the end of the fourth quarter but were held to just 3 of 17 shooting in the fourth and tumbled down to their third straight loss.