PASIG CITY – Stalled in their bid two days earlier, Cignal-San Beda made sure there will be celebrating this time as the top seed bagged the 2017 PBA D-League Aspirants Cup over an extra tough Racal Ceramica, 81-78, in Game Three of their championship series Thursday (April 6) at the Ynares Sports Arena. The Hawkeyes banked on superlative second half performances from Javee Mocon, Jason Perkins, Pamboy Raymundo and tournament Most Valuable Player Robert Bolick to squeeze out the much-deserved victory.
Trailing by as much as 13 markers just before the halftime break, 29-42, the Cignal defense simply allowed the likes of starters Thomas Torres and Gwyne Capacio to dictate the tempo and Joseph Gabayni and reserve Jackson Corpuz to frolic under the boards. Clearly, momentum was on the side of the Tile Masters after their inspiring 100-90 triumph in Game Two Monday (April 4) at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan City.
That all changed come the second half as Bolick and Perkins powered the Hawkeyes’ might rally that saw them finally tie the game for the first time at 48-48. Corpuz and Gabayni continued to lord it in the inside as their forays prevented Cignal from seizing full control of the contest.
Enter Javee Mocon. Posting an average of 8.4 points entering Game Three, Mocon went on overdrive to score 11 consecutive Hawkeye points that transformed a 68-68 stalemate into Cignal’s biggest lead of the day of five points, 79-74.
Racal refused to fold with Rey Nambatac adding a field goal and Corpuz securing two free throws off Alfred Batino with 36 ticks remaining and threaten for the last time, 78-79. Careful ball handling and crucial offensive rebounds saved the day as Racal sent Bolick to the free throw line and fittingly ice the game with two gift shots.
“I learned a lot in the two years I was away from the D-League and I applied these lessons when I accepted the offer to coach this team,” said Coach Teodorico “Boyet” Fernandez III, now the proud owner of seven D-League championships. His first six came with the legendary NLEX Road Warriors from 2011 to 2015 before the franchise got elevated to the PBA.
Mocon saved his best effort for the final game with 24 points and seven rebounds. Perkins successfully battled foul trouble to finish with 21 points, five rebounds and two blocks in 37 minutes of play.
“After securing the San Beda players and NLEX PBA reserves, we waited to sign Jason to complete the team,” added Coach Fernandez. “The boys really won this championship and I thank the support of team management and the San Beda community and the alumni.”
Corpuz capped his amazing series with 24 points and nine rebounds followed by Gabayni with 18 points and nine rebounds. Capacio hit 12 points, matching his total output from his first six games.
For now, the Hawkeyes will celebrate but it will be brief as they prepare to go for a back-to-back in the Foundation Cup scheduled to tip off on May 25, 2017. Other members of the champion team are Byron Villarias, Benedict Adamos, Harold Arboleda, Davon Potts, Calvin Oftana, Mark Bringas, Monbert Arong, Andreas Cahilig, Ranbill Tongco, JB Bahio and Jose Presbitero.
How They Scored:
CIGNAL-SAN BEDA (81) – Mocon 25, Perkins 21, Bolick 14, Raymundo 13, Batino 4, Villarias 2, Adamos 2, Arboleda 0, Potts 0, Oftana 0, Bringas 0.
RACAL CERAMICA (78) – Corpuz 24, Gabayni 18, Capacio 12, Nambatac 8, Torres 8, Salado 4, Mangahas 2, Onwubere 2, Gabawan 0, Terso 0, Flores 0, Cabrera 0.
Period Scores: 15-23, 35-43, 59-60, 81-78.