Black Mamba Energy Drink escaped defeat at the hands of Italiano's Homme, 80-75, to return to the win column of the 2019 PBA D-League Foundation Cup Thursday at JCSGO Gym in Cubao.
John Tayongtong led the Energy Drink with 23 points, five rebounds, five assists, and four steals.
Nicol Bolos had 11 points and nine rebounds, while PJ Barua supplied 10 markers in the victory.
The Energy Drink built a 13-point lead late in the third quarter, 58-45, but Italiano's Homme rallied in the payoff period and stole the advantage, 73-72, after a Marlon Gozum triple with 2:11 left in the game.
Tayongtong, though, responded with a three of his own right away to give Black Mamba the lead once more, 75-73, and then nailed three more free throws to shut the door close for the opposition.
"I just told them to make stops and run. That's our game naman, running," said coach Vis Valencia as his Black Mamba improved to 2-1 in Group B.
Francis Munsayac had 21 points, five assists, and four rebounds to lead Italiano's Homme (1-2) in the losing effort.
In the first game, Centro Escolar University shredded iWalk by 36 points, 120-84, to clinch a playoff spot.
Senegalese big man Malick Diouf was at the forefront of the Scorpions' well-deployed attack, filling up the stat sheets with 29 points, 21 rebounds, eight assists, five blocks, and two steals.
Rich Guinitaran added 21 points, six rebounds, and three assists, Kyle Sunga made 17 points and nine dimes, and Eric Tuadles chimed in 12 points in the win that improved CEU's card to 4-0 in Group A.
"Our objective is to win because iWalk is only 2-1. If we tie them we might have problems in the next round," said assistant coach Gabby Velasco, who steered the Scorpions in the win for head coach Derrick Pumaren, who was out due to urgent matters.
CEU asserted control of the match early, before Tuadles and Joshua Abastillas joined hands for a 9-0 blitz to grab a 42-24 edge with 7:34 left in the second chapter and break the game wide open.
The Scorpions would enjoy a lead as high as 39, 116-77, after a Diouf's lay-up with 2:36 left to play as they cruised the victory that made them the second team in the group to punch a playoff ticket.
CEU shot 50-percent from the field, mostly thanks to the 36 assists it dished. It also controlled the boards, 62 to 46, and its defense forced iWalk to commit 19 errors which it turned to 25 points.
Bernie Bregondo had 19 points and 12 rebounds to lead the Chargers, who did not have head coach Jonas Villanueva.
Wowie Escosio supplied 14 points and six rebounds, while Achie Iñigo and Janus Lozada each chipped in 11 markers in the blowout loss that dropped iWalk's record to 2-2.
CEU 120 -- Diouf 29, Guinitaran 24, Sunga 17, Tuadles 12, Abastillas 9, Escalona 8, Bernabe 8, De Ocampo 5, Diaz 4, Tagal 4, Murillo 3.
IWALK 84 -- Bregondo 19, Escosio 14, Ac. Iñigo 11, Lozada 11, Koga 9, Cruz 8, Cañada 8, Belencion 4, Ax. Iñigo 2, Parker 0, Taguinod 0.
Quarters: 33-22, 65-36, 93-67, 120-84.
BLACK MAMBA 80 -- Tayongtong 23, Bolos 11, Barua 10, Castro 9, Caranguian 8, Derige 7, Medina 4, Vidal 3, Carongoy 3, Gadon 2, Sison 0, Vitug 0, Santiago 0.
ITALIANO'S HOMME 75 -- Munsayac 21, Monte 17, Gozum 12, Bonsubre 9, Roy 7, Cenal 3, Racho 2, Trance 2, Labastida 2, Dela Cruz 0.
Quarters: 16-20, 30-30, 62-51, 80-75.