Flying V got it going in the second half and beat a scrappy Centro Escolar University side, 91-79, to become the first team to secure a playoff spot in the 2017 PBA D-League Foundation Cup Tuesday at Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig City.
Jeron Teng hit 22 of his game-high 30 points in the second half, where the Thunder stretched their lead to as high as 22 after taking just a 38-34 halftime edge.
Teng, a much-improved outside shooter, went 4-of-5 the deep in the last two quarters including successive triples that made it, 75-56, with 7:18 remaining. He missed all of his three attempts from downtown in the first half.
“CEU decided to zone us the whole game and luckily we were able to make our shots in the second half. It was very important for us to hit our outside shots,” said Flying V head coach Eric Altamirano, whose squad stayed untouchable with a 7-0 record.
Eric Salamat also helped in busting CEU’s zone defense by going 4-of-8 from beyond-the-arc en route to a 13-point outing.
“I think the boys created shots for each other and that gave us good looks on our outside shots.”
The Thunder are tipped to sweep their remaining games against AMA, Batangas and Zark’s but Altamirano reminded his players not to take anyone lightly.
“We’ll just continue to play and hopefully we can still improve in the coming games. What’s important is we cannot play to the level of our opponent,” he said.
Rod Ebondo powered CEU with 20 points and 21 rebounds but had to work hard to get baskets. He missed nine of his 14 attempts, most of which were heavily-contested in the shaded area.