Tanduay averted a huge meltdown and escaped Racal, 88-86 to stay afloat in the 2016 PBA D-League Foundation Cup semifinals Thursday at Strike Gym in Bacoor, Cavite.
“That’s precisely our target and goal – to make it to the finals. We allowed ourselves to live to fight another day and now, we’ll go back to the drawing board,” said coach Lawrence Chongson as his wards held off a furious Tile Masters fightback after taking a 23-point lead, 68-45.
Gelo Alolino scattered 26 points, four rebounds, and four assists, including the 17-foot jumper to give the Rhum Masters an 88-86 edge in the last 39.3 seconds.
Reden Celda also poured seven of his 15 markers in the fourth period, to go with eight boards and six dimes, while Kevin Ferrer had 13 points and three rebounds.
Tanduay forced a do-or-die affair against the top seed Racal on Tuesday, with both teams eyeing their first D-League Finals appearance.
The Rhum Masters, though, had to deal with Jonathan Grey leading the fightback, as the former St. Benilde star waged the rally before missing the game-winning three at the buzzer.
“Our foes are seeded No.1, we know they won’t give up easily,” said Chongson. “We had some lapses, which affected our third quarter performance. But then, I’ll take it. We’ll leave this behind, learn from it by winning. It will be survival of the fittest on Tuesday.”
Grey led Racal with 21 points, six rebounds, and four assists, while Banal had 12 in the defeat.
TANDUAY 88 – Alolino 26, Celda 15, Ferrer 13, Mendoza 10, Eguilos 8, Belencion 6, Acuna 4, Javillonar 4, Santos 2, Javelona 0, Lingganay 0, Tagarda 0.
RACAL 86 – Grey 21, Banal 12, Ortuoste 11, Paniamogan 9, Celiz 8, Cabrera 5, Corpuz 5, Maiquez 5, Robles 4, Terso 4, Gabawan 2, Javier 0, Neypes 0.
Quarters: 22-22, 55-43, 72-63, 88-86.