BINAN CITY – Tanduay Rhum forced a winner-take-all showdown for the 2016 PBA D-League Foundation Cup after they routed Phoenix Petroleum, 89-75, in Game Two of their best-of-three title series at the Alonte Sports Arena Tuesday (August 23). Spitfire guard Gelo Alolino was unstoppable as he fired from all angles to tow the Rhum Masters to the all-important victory.
“I’m just happy to deliver for my team,” said Alolino. The final margin though was not reflective of the prolonged struggle between the two sides as the Rhum Masters managed to breakaway only in the final period.
Alolino made 10 of his game-high 26 in the dramatic fourth that saw the ejection of Phoenix ace Mac Belo due to consecutive technical fouls resulting from arguing with the referees with 4:49 remaining. Alolino was joined by Jaymo Eguilos in capitalizing on the Accelerators’ sudden implosion, with Paolo Javelona delivering the exclamation triple at set the game’s biggest lead, 89-68.
“We had a goal and it was to tie the series,” said Coach Lawrence Chongson. “The players’ survival instincts carried them through even if a lot of people have already written us off after losing Game One.”
Alfred Batino canned a pair of free throws to tie the game for the last time, 52-52, and 3:46 to go in the third period. The Rhum Masters countered to seize back the lead entering the final period, 61-56, which they never relinquished.
Reden Celda again proved to be a good backcourt partner for Alolino as he added 15 points and six assists. Jaymo Eguilos provided the frontline punch with seven of his 11 markers in the final period on top of seven rebounds.
Ed Daquioag led the Accelerators with 18 points. Despite his ejection, Belo finished with 16 points and four rebounds while newly-minted tournament Most Valuable Player Mike Tolomia struggled with eight points, a far cry from his 19.9 scoring average entering the game.
Tolomia got the nod as MVP over Alolino, Belo and Carl Bryan Cruz of CafeFrance-CEU. He received his award from Commissioner Andres Narvasa and tournament director Eric Castro before the game.
The Accelerators took Game One, 84-76, behind Belo’s 30-point explosion. Game Three is scheduled for August 25 (Thursday) again at Alonte starting at 4:30 PM.
How They Scored:
TANDUAY RHUM (89) – Alolino 26, Celda 15, Eguilos 11, Javillonar 9, Belencion 8, Ferrer 5, Mendoza 4, Lingganay 4, Javelona 3, Santos 2, Tagarda 2, Gotladera 0, Stevens 0.
PHOENIX PETROLEUM (75) – Daquioag 18, Belo 16, Pogoy 12, Tolomia 8, Escoto 7, Tamsi 3, Mendoza 2, Andrada 2, Inigo 2, Batino 2, Knuttel 2, Jamito 1, Colina 0.
Period Scores: 21-23, 41-38, 61-56, 89-75.