Finally, LD Prime barged into the win column in Division B of the DLX/Anchor Strong Invitational Basketball League, following a 71-69 triumph over Gualo Rai last Monday night at the Gualo Rai Basketball Court.
Kenneth Quemado and Chris Esteves knocked in important free throws in the homestretch to give LD Prime its first win in six games.
Quemado had a split in his earlier trip to the stripe for LD Prime's 69-66 lead, while Esteves also went 1-for-2 at the line in the ensuing play for their four-point advantage, less than 20 seconds left on the clock.
Down, but definitely out, Gualo Rai threatened LD Prime when Justin Cayading converted a turn-around triple and sliced the deficit to one, 69-70.
Gualo Rai then gave up a quick foul to stop the clock and send Quemado to the 15-foot line anew, 1.9 seconds left in the game. Quemado made the first charity and planned to miss the second one to melt the clock in the rebound play. However, he shot an airball, giving Gualo Rai the outright possession and a chance to either tie the game with a two-pointer or win in with a triple.
Gualo Rai sued for time before the inbound and when the game resumed, Cayading managed to pull up for a triple from the left corner, but overshot his mark, allowing LD Prime to take the close win this time.
LD Prime dropped several down-to-the-wire games and seemed headed for its sixth straight loss when it fell behind, 33-45, midway in the third period. However, a big 16-2 run in the next four minutes swung momentum of the game to LD Prime, which eventually closed the third with a 58-54 advantage. Quemado led the charge, drilling 13 points in the third canto off his short jumpers.
Quemado continued to can medium-ranged shots in the fourth to help LD Prime keep the lead and then foiled Gualo Rai's comeback bids with his two charities in the closing seconds of the game. He finished with a game-high 26 points.
With the loss, Gualo Rai fell to an even 2-2 record, as it played sans top gunner Prince Factor. Marlo Ibanez paced Gualo Rai with his 25 markers.
LD Prime 71 - K. Quemado 26, Fleming 10, Esteves 9, S. Quemado 6, Aldan 5, Pena 4, Jugos 2, Lapuz 2.
Gualo Rai 69 - Ibanez 25, Cayading 12, Galulu 11, Fidelino 7, Deleon Guerrero 6, Dayrit 3.
Scoring by quarters: 17-18, 31-38, 58-54, 71-69.