With the playoffs firmly in mind, Tanduay crippled AMA Online Education, 91-80, to grab its seventh win in the 2017 PBA D-League Foundation Cup Monday at Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig.
The victory kept the Rhum Masters in contention for the second outright semis seat, but they would need to win their final game against Racal on Thursday and Cignal HD to lose to CEU on Tuesday to claim the slot.
But that’s the least of coach Lawrence Chongson’s concerns as he seeks to improve his side going to the playoffs.
“Whatever happens, it’s a process. All I want is to build a certain identity, a certain culture that we’re ready regardless on who we play against,” he said.
James Martinez scattered 14 points and two assists to lead Tanduay’s balanced attack.
Renz Palma got 11 markers and five dimes, and Jom Sollano tallied a near double-double of 10 points and seven rebounds.
Chongson reiterated his approach to these final games as his chance to correct the recurring mistakes for his Rhum Masters.
“We’re treating these last games as tuneup. We want to finetune our execution and I hope our communication won’t go offline,” he said.
Mario Bonleon topped cellar-dwelling AMA (1-8) with 23 points on a paltry 8-of-23 clip, while also hauling down seven rebounds.
Daniel Salonga added 15 markers, while Andre Paras notched 12 points and 12 boards in the Titan’s third straight loss.
TANDUAY 91 – Martinez 14, Palma 11, Sollano 10, Gaco 9, Vigil 9, Alvarez 8, Eguilos 6, Sanga 6, Santos 6, Varilla 6, Tambeling 4, Villamor 2, Taganas 0, Terso 0.
AMA 80 – Bonleon 23, Salonga 15, Paras 12, Alas 10, Magpantay 10, Calma 4, Macaranas 3, Malones 3, Carpio 0, Celso 0, Jordan 0.
Quarters: 21-18, 44-35, 65-53, 91-80.