Tanduay barged into the 2017 PBA D-League Foundation Cup quarterfinals as it downed Wangs Basketball, 93-81, Tuesday at Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig.
Paul Varilla came up big in the end game as he scored five of his nine points in the last three minutes to hold off a furious rally from the Couriers and propel the Rhum Masters to the playoffs with their 6-2 slate.
Tanduay lost hold of its 15-point lead, 62-47, with 3:56 left in the third quarter and allowed Wangs to crawl back, 82-77 with a freebie from Chris De Chavez with 3:03 to play.
But from there, Varilla put his foot down to quash the uprising for the Rhum Masters, with Lester Alvarez draining the insurance free throws in the clutch.
James Martinez came off the bench and fired 16 points to lead Tanduay, while Von Tambeling knocked down 15 markers, six rebounds, two assists, and three steals.
Jaymo Eguilos chipped in 13 points and five boards, while Alvarez got 11 markers, eight assists, and four rebounds in the conquest.
Despite the win, coach Lawrence Chongson said that he’s looking at these next few games as a chance for him to further sharpen his camp in preparation for the quarterfinals.
“We have to stay sharp. Our focus must be there, especially on our transition defense and we’re really putting emphasis on the team’s collective focus,” he said, as the Rhum Masters stretched their winning streak to three. “We need to win very single game. We got sustain the momentum. I’ve been here long enough and we know how it works.”
Wangs got knocked down a few pegs and dropped to sixth place with its 5-4 card as it saw its two-game winning run snapped.
Michael Juico scattered a game-high 24 points, eight rebounds, and four assists, while Robbie Herndon fired 16 markers and grabbed seven boards in the defeat.
TANDUAY 93 – Martinez 16, Tambeling 15, Eguilos 13, Alvarez 11, Taganas 10, Varilla 9, Palma 6, Gaco 5, Sollano 4, Villamor 4, Santos 0, Sanga 0, Vigil 0.
WANGS BASKETBALL 81 – Juico 24, Herndon 16, De Chavez 11, Gabriel 9, Bitoon 7, Ambulodto 5, Habelito 4, Montemayor 2, Arambulo 2, Sorela 1, Riley 0, King 0.
Quarters: 27-16, 46-38, 66-57, 93-81.