Tanduay forges winner-take-all
TANDUAY Rhum coach Lawrence Chongson thinks his team thrives in do-or-die games.
And he was proven right again when the Rhum Masters spoiled Phoenix’s sweep bid, 89-75, to forge a winner-take-all championship in the PBA D-League Foundation Cup yesterday at Alonte Sports Arena in Biñan, Laguna.
“It’s our instinct to survive,” said Chongson. “We’re holding on to nothing except ourselves.”
True enough, the Rhum Masters made sure to work well together with Gelo Alolino leading the way with a game-high 26 points.
“No-tomorrow games, that’s where we really rise,” Chongson said of his fourth-ranked Rhum Masters, who survived two knockout games versus No. 1 Racal in the semifinals.
Game 3 is set at 5 p.m. tomorrow in the same venue with the Rhum Masters vying for their first league crown and the Accelerators gunning for back-to-back titles.
Aside from Alolino, Reden Celda and Jaymo Eguilos also took charge in the second half where the Rhum Masters pulled away by as many as 21 points, 89-68.
“It was a do-or-die again, so we just gave our all,” said Alolino.
Celda poured in 15 points and dished out six assists, while Eguilos scored 11 and grabbed seven rebounds for the Rhum Masters.
The Accelerators headed into the match heavily favored with Mike Tolomia even receiving the Most Valuable Player award, just a conference after his teammate Mac Belo won the plum.
But the Accelerators lacked the intensity they showed in their Game 1 victory, 84-76, last Thursday.
Tolomia, who averaged 19.9 points, 4.9 rebounds, 4.7 assists, struggled with eight points as he played despite nursing a flu.
Belo had 16 points before getting ejected with 4:49 minutes left for incurring two consecutive technical fouls.
The Accelerators were still within striking distance at the start of the fourth quarter, 61-56, before the Rhum Masters staged a 14-6 run to build a 13-point spread, 75-62 with five minutes left.
From there, the Rhum Masters continued to click as the Accelerators misfired and even lost Belo to ejection.
TANDUAY 89—Alolino 26, Celda 15, Eguilos 11, Javillonar 9, Belencion 8, Ferrer 5, Lingganay 4, Mendoza 4, Javelona 3, Santos 2, Tagarda 2, Gotladera 0, Stevens 0.
PHOENIX 75—Daquioag 18, Belo 16, Pogoy 12, Tolomia 8, Escoto 7, Tamsi 3, Andrada 2, Batino 2, Iñigo 2, Knuttel 2, Mendoza 2, Jamito 1, Colina 0.
Quarters: 21-23, 41-38, 61-56, 89-75
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