PASIG CITY – Tanduay Rhum weathered a late surge by AMA Online Education to open its 2016 PBA D-League Foundation Cup campaign with a hard-earned victory, 72-66, Thursday afternoon (June 2) at the Ynares Sports Arena. The Rhum Masters squandered a 22-point lead in the third period but timely triples down the stretch by Lucas Tagarda and Jaypee Belencion saved the day.
Rudy Lingganay, Adrian Santos and new recruit Louie Vigil combined forces to build their biggest lead, 62-40, just as the third period drew to a close. Suddenly, former Tanduay guard Gene Belleza went on a one-man scoring rampage as he managed to cut the Titans’ deficit to only 10 markers, 56-66.
That was the cue for Tagarda and Belencion to deliver their game breakers with Belencion hitting his at the2:10 mark to give Tanduay an unassailable 72-58 advantage. Belleza was not yet done as he churned out six unanswered points followed by a late hoop by Genmar Bragais to pare down the final margin.
“We cannot play like this every game, we will pay for it later,” said Coach Lawrence Chongson. “There are fewer teams this conference but all of them are quality teams.”
The Titans actually had a good start but failed to sustain it. Belleza came off the bench to join burly center Jeff Montemayor in keying AMA’s late breakaway to end the first period, 15-13.
Rudy Lingganay topped the Rhum Masters with 12 points. Belencion hit three triples and a free throw to total 10 points.
Belleza, who played two scoreless games for Tanduay in the last Aspirants Cup, sizzled with 14 of his 18 points in the fourth period. Jaycee Asuncion likewise had 18 points on top of five rebounds for AMA but was limited to only a basket in the fourth.
How They Scored:
TANDUAY RHUM (72) – Lingganay 12, Belencion 10, Celda 8, Santos 7, Javillonar 7, Mendoza 7, Vigil 6, Alolino 4, Tagarda 4, Acibar 3, Gotladera 2, Acuna 2, Cenal 0, Stevens 0.
AMA ONLINE EDUCATION (66) – Asuncion 18, Belleza 18, Publico 8, Bragais 5, Jordan 5, Ragasa 4, Jo Montemayor 4, Je Montemayor 2, Arambulo 2, Macaranas 0, Magpantay 0, Calma 0, Olivares 0, Dizon 0.
Period Scores: 13-15, 33-29, 62-42, 72-66.