It was the endgame heroics of Jaycee Marcelino and the LPU Pirates that starred in the three-game slate of the 2019 Filoil Flying V Preseason Cup on Friday.
The Pirates managed to carve out a nail-biting 82-81 win over the Adamson Falcons thanks to timely baskets and crucial defensive stops.
Staring at a five-point deficit with less than 22 seconds remaining, Marcelino attacked the basket, drew a foul, and knocked down his first free throw. He missed his second attempt but got the offensive rebound and dished the ball to a wide-open Niño Ibañez who drilled a triple. The Pirates were not done yet as they got the ball back after forcing a jump ball.
Marcelino had another trick up his sleeve, getting the go-ahead basket amidst the tight defense with 3.4 seconds left. A steal by Reymar Caduyac sealed the win for the Pirates.
Marcelino tallied 19 points, seven rebounds, and four assists while his twin brother Jayvee chipped in with 10 points.
For the Falcons, Simon Camacho led the way with 19 points and seven boards.
The Pirates are now 2-0 while the Falcons suffered their first loss after winning their opening game.
The San Beda Red Lions and Letran Knights, meanwhile, stayed unbeaten.
The defending NCAA champions made quick work of the Mapua Cardinals with an 80-63 win to notch their second win in a row.
The Red Lions raced to a 30-11 lead in the first quarter that set the momentum of the game.
Arnaud Noah led the way with 17 points, five rebounds, and three assists. Evan Nelle and Ralph Penuala came away with nine points each.
The Red Lions will now head to the United States for their offseason training and will return in the last week of May.
Mapua, who were without Warren Bonifacio and Justin Serrano due to their one-game suspension, are now 0-2. Christian Bunag had 14 points in the losing effort.
The Knights, meanwhile, got their second win at the expense of the debuting FEU Tamaraws, 75-70.
It was a balanced effort for the Knights as six players finished with at least seven points. Larry Muyang had 12 points and five rebounds while Ato Ular added 10 points and seven boards.
Sophomore L-Jay Gonzales had an all-around game of 16 points, five rebounds, and seven assists but it was not enough. Wendell Comboy and Joseph Nunag each put up 16 points each as well.