Marinerong Pilipino stunned Tanduay Rhum, 65-64, to secure the last semifinal seat in the 2017 Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) D-League Foundation Cup on Tuesday at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig City.
Trailing 46-56 entering the payoff period, the Skippers used a 12-0 run to grab the lead at 58-56 with 6:35 remaining.
But ex-PBA forward Jerwin Gaco rallied the Rhum Masters back and scored six straight points for a 64-63 lead.
Marinerong Pilipino’s new recruit Robby Herndon countered with a tipped in, 65-64, 2:14 left in the contest.
Tanduay guard Lester Alvarez had a couple of chances to steal the game but missed his three-point attempts as time expired and the Rhum Masters failed to capitalize their twice-to-beat advantage in the quarterfinals.
“We were down in the first three quarters but I motivated my players to give their best. Like what I said, miracles do happen,” said Skippers coach Koy Banal.
Herndon topscored for Marinerong Pilipino with a double-double performance of 13 points and 13 rebounds while Renzo Subido chipped in 11 markers and three boards.
Gaco netted 17 points and three rebounds while Alvarez contributed 11 markers, three assists and three boards for Tanduay.
The Skippers will face the No. 2 seed Cignal HD in the best-of-three semifinal series, which starts on Thursday.
Marinerong Pilipino 65 – Herndon 13, Subido 11, Lopez 10, Inigo 9, Isip 7, Sargent 6, Alabanza 4, Marata 3, Gabriel 2, Salcedo 0, Gumaru 0, Gavieres 0, Javelona 0, Moralde 0, Javillonar 0, Publico 0.
Tanduay 64 – Gaco 17, Alvarez 11, Taganas 9, Tambeling 5, Martinez 5, Palma 4, Eguilos 3, Santos 2, Sollano 2, Sanga 2, Varilla 2, Villamor 2, Vigil 0, Terso 0.
Quarterscores: 15-20, 31-39, 46-56, 65-64.
JEAN RUSSEL DAVID