Phoenix escaped a very game Blustar Detergent crew, 97-94 to keep its record unscathed Thursday in the 2016 PBA D-League Foundation Cup at Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig.
Ed Daquioag bucked a poor first half and unloaded 13 of his team-high 25 points in the fourth period to shake off the Dragons late.
Mike Tolomia also buried 20 markers, including the go-ahead jumper from the right elbow to pull his team up, 94-92 with 31.9 ticks left. He also had eight rebounds.
“Yun ang in-address ko sa kanila kanina ng halftime, hindi ko nakikita yung Phoenix na kilala ko. You better check your heart kasi sobrang complacent natin,” said coach Eric Gonzales. “Tinry naman nila mag-step up ng third and fourth quarters, pero binigyan na nila ng confidence yung kalaban eh.”
Phoenix played the last three quarters without Mac Belo, who was ejected after being attested with a flagrant two after elbowing Chun Hung Ting over the shoulders with 10.1 seconds left in the first quarter.
The gutsy victory kept the Accelerators on top with a 4-0 record.
“Yung good news lang is kahit paano naitawid namin yung panalo. Work in progress pa rin kami and it’s something we have to work on, yung fire ng players,” said Gonzales.
Juami Tiongson led Blustar with 34 points, five assists, and four rebounds, as he played his first game for the still winless Dragons.
In the second game, Tanduay battled back from 20-points down and stunned Cafe France, 84-80.
“Yung baon lang namin tapang at lakas ng loob. Di kami nag-give up,” said coach Lawrence Chongson. “Madami kaming lapses pero ang kalaban namin defending champion eh. Ang di ko lang matatanggal is yung pagpupursigi ng mga bata. Handa silang magpakamatay para manalo.”
Gelo Alolino anchored the victory with 22 points, six rebounds, and three assists, while Adrian Santos dropped eight of his 17 markers in the fourth period, to go with nine boards.
Reden Celda also got 12 points and eight rebounds in the win to help the Rhum Masters tie the Bakers at second with an identical 3-1 slate.
From a 47-27 deficit, Tanduay came back in the second half and set up the frantic finish with a 78-all deadlock with 2:17 left.
Santos finished a fastbreak to push the Rhum Masters up, 82-80 with 1:21 to go. Aaron Jeruta tried to tie the game anew, but Louie Vigil blocked his floater as Celda sealed the win at the free throw line.
“Yung mga bata, mahilig sa drama. Papatambak muna bago habulin. Buti na pang we woke up in the nick of time,” said Chongson.
Rod Ebondo paced Cafe France with 15 points and 15 rebounds, while Samboy de Leon and Carl Bryan Cruz both wound up with 15 markers each.