Gelo Alolino unleashed a masterful game to keep Tanduay alive in the 2016 PBA D-League Foundation Cup finals.
The former NU playmaker unleashed 26 points to tow the Rhum Masters to an 89-75 victory on Tuesday at the Alonte Sports Arena in Binan, Laguna to force a winner-take-all Game 3.
With his team’s back against the wall, Alolino poured 10 of his 26 markers in the payoff period, while adding three rebounds and two assists.
“I’ve already told you that in a do-or-die game as though there is no tomorrow, that is when we bounce back,” said coach Lawrence Chongson. “But before we get too ahead of ourselves, all we did is tie the series.”
Reden Celda also chimed in 15 markers and six dimes, while Jaymo Eguilos had in 11 points, seven boards, and three blocks for Tanduay.
The Rhum Masters took charge in the fourth, turning a five-point, 61-56 third quarter lead to 14, 77-63 before Mac Belo got thrown out for incurring two technicals at the 4:49 mark.
That was when Alolino and Eguilos took over, finishing the job as Tanduay grabbed a lead as high as 21, 89-68 late.
Game 3 is set on Thursday, 5 p.m. still at the same venue.
Ed Daquioag topped Phoenix with 18 points, three assists, and two rebounds, while Belo got 16 markers, four boards, and three dimes.
Meanwhile, Mike Tolomia was hailed as the Conference Most Valuable Player for the 2016 PBA D-League Foundation Cup.
PBA Commissioner Chito Narvasa and tournament director Eric Castro were on hand to fete the 23-year-old playmaker before Game 2 of the Finals between Phoenix and Tanduay.
Tolomia averaged 19.9 points, 4.9 rebounds, and 4.7 assists for the conference as he led the Accelerators back in the finals.
He is just the second Phoenix player to be named as MVP after Mac Belo in the 2016 Aspirants’ Cup.
He outlasted teammate Ed Daquioag, Cafe France’s Carl Bryan Cruz, Racal’s Jonathan Grey, and Tanduay’s Gelo Alolino for the award.
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, Inigo 2, Knuttel 2, Mendoza 2, Jamito 1, Colina 0.
Quarters: 21-23, 41-38, 61-56, 89-75.
Alonte Sports Arena, Binan, Laguna
(Game 3 of Best-of-3 Finals)
5 p.m. Tanduay vs Phoenix