QUEZON CITY – Jay-R Taganas hit a 13-foot jumper from the free throw circle with two seconds left to lift the AMA University Titans over the Tanduay Light Rhum Masters, 76-74, at the 2015 PBA D-League Foundation Cup at the Jesus Christ Saves Global Outreach Gym (JCSGO) Thursday afternoon (March 30). The much-improved Titans rose to 2-1 and a share of Second Place with the idle KeraMix Mixers.
Taganas received a perfect inbound pass from Jarelan Tampus for the winner plus a foul from Raymond Ilagan. The bonus free throw was missed thus allowing the Rhum Masters one final heave from the backcourt that missed by a mile.
“I was open because they focused defending our shooters at the perimeter,” explained Taganas. For his part, Coach Mark Herrera praised his burly forward: “We trust him to deliver and all the hard work he puts in practice is paying off.”
For a while, the game had the markings of a laugher as Tanduay Light raced to a 27-11 lead after the opening period behind the combined 16 points of Aljon Mariano and Jason Escueta. Waking up from their scoreless first period, starters Taganas and Dexter Maiquez presided over the Titans’ slow but sure rally, eventually holding the upper hand entering the final period, 58-56.
Aside from hitting the marginal basket, Taganas topped the Titans with 17 points and 11 rebounds. Maiquez backed him with 14 points and 10 rebounds.
Roi Sumang paced Tanduay Light with 13 markers. Mariano and Escueta both ended up with 11 points each as the Rhum Masters dropped to 1-2.
In the main game, the Hapee Fresh Fighters tallied a confidence-boosting annihilation of the LiverMarin Guardians, 74-50. The win allowed Hapee to even its card at 1-1 and ease the sting of their opening game defeat to Jumbo Plastic, 61-64, last March 23.
The Guardians had no answer for Troy Rosario, who was a one-man wrecking crew for the Fresh Fighters. By halftime, Rosario had already notched 16 markers as Hapee led comfortably, 36-25.
“We still have a lot to work on after only six practices as a complete team,” said Coach Ronnie Magsanoc. “Our defense served us well and our offense followed.”
True enough the Fresh Fighters further tightened the defense in the third canto by limiting LiverMarin to a measly seven points while scoring 20 of their own. Coach Magsanoc had the luxury of fielding his role players and they still stretched the margin to its biggest late in the fourth period, 70-44.
Rosario led all scorers with 20, nine rebounds and two steals. Hapee’s balanced attack was shown as the trio of Earl Scottie Thompson, Chris Newsome and Mark Romero all banged in 11 points each.
No Guardian submitted twin figures. Jovit de la Cruz could only cough up eight points followed by Nicole Bangga with seven as LiverMarin absorbed its third loss in as many games.
The PBA D-League will take a break for the Holy Week and resume play on April 6, 2015 (Monday) with a doubleheader at the San Juan Arena. Jumbo Plastic faces KeraMix at 1:00 PM followed immediately by CaféFrance against Cagayan Valley at 3:00 PM.
How They Scored:
AMA (76) – Taganas 17, Maiquez 14, Tampus 11, Martinez 11, Arellano 9, Sison 8, Terso 3, King 3, Angeles 0.
TANDUAY LIGHT (74) – Sumang 13, Escueta 11, Mariano 11, Jumao-as 9, Ilagan 6, Mandani 5, Santos 4, Belencion 4, Foronda 3, Tagarda 2, Cenal 2, Rono 2, de la Paz 2, Eriobu 0.
Period Scores: 11-27, 37-39, 58-56, 76-74.
HAPEE (74) – Rosario 20, Thompson 11, Newsome 11, Romero 11, Bringas 8, Long 6, Villahermosa 3, Lopez 2, Hayes 2, Gamboa 0, Gabo 0, Elorde 0.
LIVERMARIN (50) – de la Cruz 8, Bangga 7, Balucanag 6, Ignacio 5, de Vera 5, Ortuoste 5, Guinto 4, Mag-isa 4, Fabian 2, Calisaan 2, Rios 1, Laude 1, Costelo 0, Santos 0.
Period Scores: 23-14, 36-25, 56-32, 74-50.