With their killer instincts on, the Tanduay Rhum Masters completed a déjà vu of sorts against one of their fiercest rivals in the PBA D-League.
Down by as much as 20 in the 1st half, the Rhum Masters woke up in the nick of time to deny Café France Bakers, 84-80, and capture their 3rd win in the Foundation Cup at the Ynares Sports Center in Pasig on Thursday night.
Reminiscent of their elimination round victory last conference over the same foe, the Rhum Masters refused to go down without a fight that slowly gave them the momentum in the fourth quarter, enough for them to score a morale-boosting come-from-behind win.
“Yung baon natin tapang lang, lakas ng loob, di na kami gumive-up, yung laro di ako satisfied kasi maraming lapses,” said head coach Lawrence Chongson.
Gelo Alolino kickstarted Tanduay’s 2nd half time onslaught, firing 16 of his 22 points when it mattered the most while Adrian Santos and Reden Celda also delivered with 17 and 12, respectively, in the neck-and-neck battle to the delight of the sizable crowd in attendance.
“You take the good with the bad pagdating sa kanya, decision ko na lang na to use him more than Rudy Lingganay, instinct nalang siguro yan,” said Chongson on Alolino, who turned clutch to take the lead in the dying minutes.
It was also a redemption for Chongson as his Tanduay squad was eliminated by Café France last conference.
“Binanggit ko sa anim na bago yung pait ng nakaraan,” he said. “Ang maganda sa buhay, kumbaga yung new day, there’s always a new day.”
Carl Bryan Cruz, Samboy De Leion and Rod Ebondo scored 15 points apiece for the Bakers in their sorry loss. – By Jason Mercene
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