Racal Ceramica stretched its unbeaten start to five games after edging tournament darkhorse Tanduay, 84-80, on Tuesday in the 2017 Philippine Basketball Association D-League Aspirants’ Cup at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig City.
The Tile Masters relied on their balanced attack, led by Allan Mangahas, who tallied 16 points and six rebounds, to remain unbeaten after five matches.
Kent Salado added 15 markers while Rey Nambatac and Sidney Onwubere combined for 29 points for Racal.
Onwubere opened the third period with a corner three to extend Racal’s lead to as much as eight, 46-38.
Tanduay’s Kier John Qunito and Paul Sanga anchored a 9-0 blitz capped by the latter’s triple to grab the lead at 47-46 with 7:13 remaining in the third period.
The Rhum Masters were still holding a 64-61 advantage entering the final period when the Tile Masters staged a rally and tied the game at 76-all with 3:43 left in the game.
Jamil Gabawan and Salado hit a pair of free throws to give Racal an 80-76 separation and the Tile Masters held on the lead till the final buzzer to keep their perfect record intact.
“I told my players to stay focused on our game plan and to also trust their teammates,” said Racal coach Jerry Codiñera.
Sanga delivered 25 points, three rebounds and one assist while Quinto pulled 21 markers, two boards and two assists, for Tanduay, which fell to 3-2.
In the first game, Cafe France overpowered Wang’s Basketball, 84-74, to keep the solo second place with a 4-1 slate.
Paul Desiderio led the Bakers with 23 points and four rebounds while Rodrigue Ebondo added 20 markers and nine boards for Café France. Mike Calisaan also had 18 for the Bakers, who ruined the 39-point explosion of Wang’s John Tayongtong.
Wang fell to 1-4.