PASIG CITY – Tanduay Rhum inflicted the first loss on defending champion CafeFrance-CEU, 84-80, at the 2016 PBA D-League Foundation Cup Thursday at the Ynares Sports Arena. The Bakers saw their winning streak end at three games while the Rhum Masters improved to 3-1 and tie the Bakers in the standings.
“I gambled on playing Gelo Alolino more today over Rudy Lingganay and it paid off,” said Coach Lawrence Chongson. True enough, Alolino helped orchestrate the Rhum Masters dramatic second half comeback from as much as 20 points down late in the second period, 27-47, to steal the victory.
Alolino not only scored 16 of his 22 points in the second half, he also grabbed six rebounds and made three assists, mostly to Adrian Santos. Santos made back-to-back baskets to tie the game and give Tanduay the lead with 1:21 to go.
The last time the Rhum Masters enjoyed the upper hand was at 4-3 in the first period. Santos eventually finished with 17 points and nine rebounds while Reden Celda made two pressure-packed free throws at the five-second mark to ice the game and tally 12 points, eight rebounds and six assists.
“The turning point of this game was when we upped our defense,” added Coach Chongson. “You have to respect CafeFrance because this is a double-round format and they will definitely want to get back at us.”
Last conference, Tanduay handed the Bakers their only loss in the elimination phase but the latter exacted revenge by booting out the Rhum Masters in the semifinals. Coach Chongson related to his newcomers led by Alolino the bitter experience as part of his pregame motivation.
The trio of Carl Bryan Cruz, Rodrigue Ebondo and Samboy de Leon topped the Bakers with 15 markers each. Paul Zamar added 10 points, eight coming in the second period as he keyed the Bakers’ biggest lead.
How They Scored:
TANDUAY RHUM (84) – Alolino 22, Santos 17, Celda 12, Vigil 9, Javillonar 6, Belencion 6, Acuna 4, Mendoza 4, Gotladera 2, Tagarda 2, Enguio 0, Lingganay 0, Stevens 0.
CAFEFRANCE-CEU (80) – de Leon 15, Cruz 15, Ebondo 15, Zamar 10, Jeruta 8, Manlangit 8, Casino 6, Opiso 2, Villahermosa 1, Abundo 0, Parala 0.
Period Scores: 18-20, 30-47, 50-59, 84-80.