BACOOR CITY – Tanduay Rhum squandered a 23-point lead but had enough finishing kick to hold off top seed Racal Tiles, 88-86, in their 2016 PBA D-League Foundation Cup semifinal at the STRIKE Gym Thursday (August 11). The Rhum Masters thus forced a winner-take-all game next Tuesday (August 16) at the same venue for a spot in the best-of-three finals.
Tanduay welcomed the second half with a barrage of triples by Kevin Ferrer and Gelo Alolino as part of a 13-2 opening run that gave them their biggest lead, 68-45. Living up to their billing as the top seed, the Tiles Masters gallantly fought back through the combined efforts of Jonathan Grey and Robby Celiz to close in entering the final period, 63-72,
Racal’s rampage continued as Raphael Banal hit a triple and followed it up with a layup in traffic to finally give the Tile Masters the lead, 82-81. The celebration was short-lived though as Reden Celda drove to the hoop for a basket plus a foul then rebounding his bonus free throw miss for an 85-82 count with 4:21 to go.
Grey completed a three-point play off Alolino to force the game’s final deadlock, 84-84, at the 1:21 mark. Jaymo Eguilos and Alolino bailed out Tanduay with four unanswered points for a shaky 88-84 advantage with 30 seconds left.
Ferrer then fouled Roider Cabrera at the three-point line, but the latter could only convert two of his three charities to threaten for the last time. A botched possession opened the door a bit for the Tile Masters but Grey’s triple attempt at the buzzer bounced off the rim.
“We did what we had to do and we are still alive for another game so thank you for the win,” said Coach Lawrence Chongson. “Racal really deserves to be the top seed, they did not fold but the law of averages caught up with them because we have yet to beat them even in tune up games.”
Alolino led all scorers with 26 points on top of four rebounds and four assists. Celda followed with 15 points, seven coming in the fourth period while Ferrer added 13 markers.
Grey paced the Tile Masters with 21 points, six rebounds and four assists. Banal supported him with 12 and Jamil Ortuoste added 11 as Racal snapped its six-game winning streak.
How They Scored:
TANDUAY RHUM (88) – Alolino 26, Celda 15, Ferrer 13, Mendoza 10, Eguilos 8, Belencion 6, Javillonar 4, Acuna 4, Santos 2, Tagarda 0, Javelona 0, Lingganay 0.
RACAL TILES (86) – Grey 21, Banal 12, Ortuoste 11, Paniamogan 9, Celiz 8, Corpuz 5, Cabrera 5, Terso 4, Robles 4, Gabawan 2, Javier 0, Neypes 0.
Period Scores: 22-22, 55-43, 72-63, 88-86.