Zark's Burger-Lyceum refused to lose and hacked out an 82-77 triumph over Centro Escolar University Thursday at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig to complete the Final Four cast in the 2018 PBA D-League Aspirants' Cup.
Jayvee Marcelino Zark's Burger-Lyceum with 17 points, twin brother Jaycee Marcelino contributed 10 markers, seven assists, and three boards, and Cameroonian slotman Mike Nzeusseu tallied a double-double of 12 points and 16 rebounds.
MJ Ayaay willed the Jawbreakers back in the game that saw the Zark's Burger Lyceum claw their way back from a 72-61 deficit with 7:27 left.
The Jawbreakers uncorked a stunning 21-5 finishing kick to steal the game away from the Scorpions.
"I just reminded them to just enjoy the game and that gave them more freedom to play," said coach Topex Robinson, as the six-seed Zark's-Lyceum brace for two-seed Marinerong Pilipino in the best-of-three semi-finals starting Tuesday.
Ayaay was all over the floor on the way to 15 points, four rebounds, five steals, and four blocks enough to make up for the absence of CJ Perez, who fouled out with still 4:54 left in the game.
It was an awe-inspiring stand by the Jawbreakers, who looked dead in the water after the Scorpions raced to a 30-12 advantage in the first quarter.
At the end of the day, though, it was Zark's Burger-Lyceum's defense which did the trick, stifling CEU in the clutch to snatch the victory and overcome the twice-to-beat disadvantage in the quarterfinals.
Rod Ebondo unfurled 22 points and 16 rebounds to lead the Scorpions, while Art Aquino got 16 markers and 11 boards.
CEU, the runner-up in last season's Foundation Cup, missed the semi-finals for the first time since the 2014 Foundation Cup.
ZARK'S BURGER-LYCEUM 82 -- Jv. Marcelino 17, Ayaay 15, Nzeusseu 12, Jc. Marcelino 10, Perez 8, Tansingco 6, Caduyac 5, Serrano 4, Yong 3, Pretta 2, Cinco 0, Iba?ez 0.
CEU 77 -- Ebondo 22, Aquino 16, Wamar 11, Guinitaran 10, Cruz 6, Fuentes 4, Caballero 3, Manlangit 3, Arim 2, Chan 0, Galinato 0, Intic 0, Veron 0.
Quarters: 15-30, 37-45, 56-65, 82-77.