SAN JUAN City – The Cebuana Lhuillier Gems maintained their unblemished record atop the 2015 PBA D-League Foundation Cup standings via a methodical 81-70 crushing of the Tanduay Light Rhum Masters Monday (April 13) at the San Juan Arena. The Gems’ fourth straight win marks the franchise’s best start since the D-League opened shop in 2011.
Jackson Corpuz scattered 13 of his 18 points in the pivotal third period as the Gems turned a 34-35 deficit into a commanding 58-50 cushion entering the final period. The high-leaping Corpuz’ third period output was two points lesser than the entire Rhum Master quintet.
Tanduay Light did not surrender easily as Roi Sumang and Jaypee Belencion tried their best to cut the deficit. Belencion’s triple put them at their closest, 69-62, but this was quickly negated by a basket by Moala Tautuaa and two free throws from Allan Mangahas, 73-62.
Raymond Ilagan then completed a three-point play to threaten for the last time, 67-74. Paul Zamar preserved the win by going six out of seven from the free throw stripe in the final two minutes.
“I reminded the players that they cannot just pray for their offense to click,” said Coach David “Boycie” Zamar. “They have to give it an effort on defense and everything else will follow.”
For a moment, Tanduay Light looked like it was ready to inflict the first loss on the Gems. Seldom-used Joseph Eriobu was inserted into the starting unit by Coach Lawrence Chongson and the gambit paid dividends as the forward quickly registered 10 points in the first period to push Tanduay Light ahead, 19-14, a lead they held until Corpuz’ third period heroics.
Tautuaa issued another superlative performance of 20 points highlighted by three dunks, 11 rebounds and five assists in front of team owner Jean Henri Lhuillier who watched behind their bench. Norbert Torres backed up Tautuaa and Corpuz with 16 points.
Eriobu failed to sustain his first period explosion but still topped Tanduay Light with 14 points. Sumang and Belencion chipped in 11 markers each as the Rhum Masters absorbed their third straight defeat after taking their tournament opener for a 1-3 card.
In the first game, the Cagayan Valley Rising Suns ended their two-game losing slump by pulverizing the Jumbo Plastic Linoleum Giants, 73-57. After the game’s only deadlock at 2-2, Abel Galliguez hit a triple followed by an Andrian Celada three-point play and it was an all-Cagayan show hence, 8-2.
The Rising Suns upped their lead to as high as 27 markers in the third canto, 57-30. The Giants’ cause suffered as they could only muster two field goals and the Rising Suns held strong entering the final period, 59-37.
“If we continue to play like this, there should be no problems,” declared team consultant Turo Valenzona. “The team worked to improve on their ball rotation and team defense especially in the fourth period.”
Galliguez topped Cagayan with 14 points off four triples. Celada supported him well with 13 points, six rebounds and two steals.
Dennice Villamor was the lone bright spot for Jumbo Plastic with 14 points, nine made in the fourth period. Tristan Perez was next with only eight markers as Giants fell to 2-2, the same record as the Rising Suns and idle squads AMA University Titans and KeraMix Mixers.
How They Scored:
CAGAYAN VALLEY (73) – Galliguez 14, Celada 13, Melano 12, Magat 9, Mabulac 7, Austria 5, Salamat 5, Rogado 4, Dilay 2, Flores 2, Tayongtong 0, Santos 0, Arquero 0.
JUMBO PLASTIC (57) – Villamor 14, Perez 8, Tiongson 7, Eguilos 7, Khobuntin 5, Rosales 5, Sabellina 4, Paniamogan 4, Avillanoza 3, Purdy 0, Almario 0.
Period Scores: 26-16, 43-28, 59-37, 73-57.
CEBUANA LHUILLIER (81) – Tautuaa 20, Corpuz 18, Torres 16, Zamar 12, Enciso 6, Vosotros 3, J. Mangahas 3, A. Mangahas 2. Bautista 1, Acibar 0, Acosta 0, Marata 0, Lopez 0, Sarangay 0.
TANDUAY LIGHT (70) – Eriobu 14, Sumang 11, Belencion 11, Escueta 10, Mariano 8, Santos 7, Ilagan 6, Jumao-as 3, Mandani 0, Tagarda 0, Foronda 0, Rono 0, de la Paz 0.
Period Scores: 14-19, 34-35, 58-50, 81-70.