BACOOR CITY – Tanduay Rhum completed its demolition of top seed Racal Tiles, 81-70, at the conclusion of the 2016 PBA D-League Foundation Cup semifinals Tuesday night (August 16) at the STRIKE Gym. This marks the first time that the franchise will play in the championship series since they joined the inaugural D-League tournament in 2011.
Waiting for Tanduay in the best-of-three finals is Phoenix Petroleum. The Accelerators dethroned last year’s champion CafeFrance in the day’s earlier game, 81-70.
The Rhum Masters were clinging on to an unstable 67-62 lead nearing the three-minute mark when Gelo Alolino and Kevin Ferrer conspired to hit two triples each and knock the fight out of the Tile Masters, 79-66. Racal did not know what happened as they scrambled to put points on the board but to no avail as Ferrer and Reden Celda sealed the deal via the free throw line.
“No celebrations yet, we have around 48 hours to prepare for Game One,” declared Coach Lawrence Chongson. “I’m really thankful for this win and since we were given the chance, we will go all out to win the championship.”
Tuesday’s win did not come easy. Substitutes Jamil Ortuoste and Philip Paniamogan starred in the second period to give Racal a 38-31 halftime edge before Celda exploded for 12 of his team-high 21 points to help restore the upper hand to Tanduay entering the fourth canto, 59-54.
Fourth period heroes Alolino and Ferrer came next with 14 and 13 markers respectively. The three-pointer proved to be Tanduay’s prime weapon by converting 16 of their 41 attempts compared to Racal’s 7/33 clip.
Alolino was also crucial in their win over Racal last week, 88-86, to set the stage for the winner-take-all game. The franchise previously carried the names of Cobra Energy Drink and Boracay Rhum,
Ortuoste paced the Tile Masters with 16 points. Jonathan Grey followed with 15 points.
Game One of the best-of-three series will be played on August 18 (Thursday) at the Alonte Sports Arena in Binan City, Laguna. Game Two will be back at the STRIKE Gym on August 23 and if needed, Game Three on August 25.
How They Scored:
TANDUAY RHUM (81) – Celda 21, Alolino 14, Ferrer 13, Eguilos 6, Santos 6, Acuna 6, Gotladera 5, Tagarda 4, Lingganay 4, Javillonar 2, Belencion 0, Mendoza 0.
RACAL TILES (70) – Ortuoste 16, Grey 15, Celiz 11, Maiquez 9, Paniamogan 8, Cabrera 4, Terso 3, Javier 2, Neypes 2, Corpuz 0, Banal 0, Robles 0.
Period Scores: 15-13, 31-38, 59-54, 81-70.