Skyforce trip Naughty Needlez in Espiritu Cup
MANILA, Philippines – Skyforce, playing without Leo Avenido, fended off Naughty Needlez’ final push and bagged a 91-84 victory on Friday in the 2013 Danny Espiritu Cup at the Letran Gym.
Skyforce, which is shaping up to be this year’s toughest contender, squandered an 11-point lead early in the fourth quarter, but recovered in time to zoom away with their fourth win of the tournament.
From 77-66 with 8:02 left to play, Skyforce saw its lead turn into an 81-82 deficit after Warren Ybañez unloaded consecutive triples for Naughty Needlez.
But Ronjay Enrile, who scored 17 points, was there to extinguish Naughty Needlez’ momentum and carried Skyforce to safety with a nine-point lead with 21 seconds to go.
Former Jose Rizal University Heavy Bomber Floyd Dedicatoria, Skyforce’s most consistent scorer, led the team with 19 points.
The undermanned Naughty Needlez only had eight players last Friday and fell to their third straight loss despite showing flashes of dominance early in the game.
Ybañez finished with 27 points and dished 11 assists while Vaughn Canta added 16 points and 10 boards.
Skyforce 91 -- Dedicatoria 19, Enrile 17, Sanders 13, Allera 10, Vizcarra 9, Sotto 8, Vergara 5, Sta. Cruz 4, Caceres 2, Misolas 2, Sta. Maria 2, Capistrano 0, Tan 0, Salansang 0.
Naughty Needlez 84 -- Ybañez 27, Canta 16, Espinosa 11, Hall 11, Aguilar 9, Cunanan 8, Martinez 2, Manalo 0.
Quarters: 19-26, 52-41, 71-62, 91-84