BACOOR, Cavite—With its back against the wall, Tanduay found a way to survive and fended off Racal, 88-86, to stay alive in the 2016 PBA D-League Foundation Cup semifinals Thursday at Strike Gym here.
“Yun naman precisely ang target namin, yung ambisyon to make it to the Finals. We allowed ourselves to live to fight another day and now, we’ll go back to the drawing board,” said coach Lawrence Chongson.
Gelo Alolino sparked the Rhum Masters with 26 points, four rebounds, and four assists, including the 17-foot jumper to give his side an 88-86 lead in the final 39.3 seconds.
Reden Celda also fired seven of his 15 markers in the payoff period, alongside eight boards and six dimes, while Kevin Ferrer got 13 points and three rebounds.
The fourth-seed Tanduay looked well on its way to a rout as it took a 23-point edge, 68-45, early in the third. But Racal fought back, leaning on Jonathan Grey to spearhead the fightback and even take the lead 81-80 with 1:59 to go thanks to a Raphael Banal fastbreak.
Celda and Alolino, though, took the cudgels in the clutch to keep the Rhum Masters alive for their do-or-die tiff on Tuesday.
“Number one-seed yung kalaban namin. Alam naming di basta-basta tutupi yan,” said Chongson. “We had some lapses and nag-creep in yun nung third. But then, I’ll take it. We’ll leave this behind, learn from it by winning. Matira matibay na sa Tuesday.”
Grey captained the top-seed Racal with 21 points, six rebounds, and four assists, while Banal got 12 in the defeat.
TANDUAY 88 – Alolino 26, Celda 15, Ferrer 13, Mendoza 10, Eguilos 8, Belencion 6, Acuna 4, Javillonar 4, Santos 2, Javelona 0, Lingganay 0, Tagarda 0.
RACAL 86 – Grey 21, Banal 12, Ortuoste 11, Paniamogan 9, Celiz 8, Cabrera 5, Corpuz 5, Maiquez 5, Robles 4, Terso 4, Gabawan 2, Javier 0, Neypes 0.
Quarters: 22-22, 55-43, 72-63, 88-86.