Marinerong Pilipino lived to fight another day with a gutsy 74-72 victory over Tanduay Thursday at Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig to extend their 2017 PBA D-League Foundation Cup quarterfinals series to a winner-take-all Game 2.
With the two teams trading miscues in the final minute, it was the Skippers’ final defensive stand with 5.3 seconds remaining on an inbounding Paul Varilla that made the difference as they forced the former UE guard to turn the ball over.
Renzo Subido muffed two freebies on the ensuing possession, but Achie Iñigo was there to recover the offensive board, securing the team’s survival for another game.
“We knew we’ve been in this situation before. There were three games that we’ve won on the defensive end, and they were able to believe it and we were able to make a stop,” said coach Koy Banal.
New acquisition Robbie Herndon fired 16 points and 10 rebounds for Marinerong Pilipino, while JR Alabanza got 13 markers and eight boards.
John Lopez chipped in eight points and five rebounds, but his biggest contribution came in the last 8.3 seconds when he rejected Varilla’s potential go-ahead drive.
“That’s what we believe in, that miracles still happen. Our goal is just to make it to the semis and we’ll figure it out when we get there. The boys just gave it all,” said Banal.
Game 2 is on Tuesday, 4 p.m., still at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig, with the winner taking on second-seed Cignal HD in the best-of-three semifinals.
Jerwin Gaco topped Tanduay with 14 points, five rebounds, and two assists, James Martinez added 13 markers, and Lester Alvarez got 12 points, four boards, and two dimes in the defeat.
MARINERONG PILIPINO 74 – Herndon 16, Alabanza 13, Lopez 8, Iñigo 7, Subido 7, Isip 6, Sargent 6, Gabriel 4, Javelona 4, Marata 3, Javillonar 0.
TANDUAY 72 – Gaco 14, Martinez 13, Alvarez 12, Palma 7, Eguilos 5, Sollano 5, Varilla 5, Santos 4, Tambeling 3, Taganas 2, Villamor 2, Vigil 0.
Quarters: 15-19, 34-36, 56-55, 74-72.