PASIG CITY – Marinerong Pilipino banked on the fabulous endgame play on both ends of the floor by center John Ray Alabanza to eke out a 66-65 win over Cignal HD at the 2017 PBA D-League Foundation Cup at the Ynares Sports Arena Thursday (June 8). The expansion Skippers bounced back from their opening game loss to Batangas to even their win-loss card at 1-1.
Alabanza scored at close range to give the Skippers a 66-62 lead with 1:11 to play in regulation. They never scored from there as Alabanza held strong on the defensive as he blocked Jason Perkins on two separate plays to preserve the win.
Coach Koy Banal admitted that he had eyes on Alabanza ever since the latter was still in high school at San Beda College. “I recruited him for the Red Lions but I left and he left as well but now we finally have a chance to work together,” he said.
Cignal proved to be a tough customer. After Alabanza’s basket, Raymar Jose countered by making three of his four free throws to threaten, 65-66, and then forced a series of turnovers but the Hawkeyes could not capitalize.
“We need to compete until the very end and learn to win with defense,” added Coach Banal. “Good thing today that the veterans stepped up and guided our young players.”
True to the coach’s word, team captain and elder statesman Mark Isip paced the Skippers with 15 points and six rebounds despite fouling out late in the fourth canto. Achie Inigo followed with a double-double of 13 points and 10 rebounds while Alabanza registered seven blocks to go with his six markers.
Perkins showed the way for the Hawkeyes with 15 points and eight rebounds as they also evened their win-loss record at 2-2. Jose and Christopher Sumalinog were next with 11 points each with Jose hauling 14 rebounds.
How They Scored:
MARINERONG PILIPINO (66) – Isip 15, Inigo 13, Marata 11, Moralde 10, Alabanza 6, Lopez 5, Javelona 3, Publico 2, Sargent 1, Gumaru 0, Nicholls 0, Javillonar 0.
CIGNAL HD (65) – Perkins 13, Jose 11, Sumalinog 11, Batino 6, Raymundo 5, Arong 4, Sara 3, Arboleda 3, Potts 3, Villarias 2, Bringas 2, Cahilig 0, Atkins 0.
Period Scores: 14-19, 32-43, 56-53, 66-65.