Racal once again proved that it belonged among the league’s bests, dealing Phoenix its first loss, 93-78 Thursday in the 2016 PBA D-League Foundation Cup at Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig.
The Tile Masters injected themselves back in the conversation for the top two spots, stunning the Accelerators with a blazing fourth period and pulling away with a 19-5 tear in the fourth to hold a 92-76 edge with 1:16 left to play.
“We’re trying to make it to the top two,” said coach Caloy Garcia, as Racal stopped Phoenix’s winning streak at five and in the process, tied Tanduay at third place with a 5-2 record as the league takes a short break to give way to the 2016 FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament.
Jamil Ortuoste captained the Tile Masters with 20 points, five rebounds, and three assists, while Jonathan Grey finished with 19 markers.
Robby Celiz also got 11 points, three boards, and three dimes, while Dexter Maiquez had a near-double-double with nine markers and 14 rebounds in the victory.
“I just told the players na we’re going to shorten out rotation because the only way to beat Phoenix is to run with them the whole time and siguro napagod sila eventually,” said Garcia.
Mac Belo led Phoenix (5-1) with 22 points and 10 rebounds, while Roger Pogoy had 16 markers in the defeat.
In the first game, Tanduay lucked to an 84-81 thriller, slipping off Topstar ZC Mindanao for its fifth win.
The Rhum Masters benefitted from JR Cawaling calling a timeout his team no longer had, paving the way to Rudy Lingganay canning the technical free throw to push his side up, 82-81 with 17.3 seconds left.
Cawaling would try to atone for that miscue, but missed on his drive as Lingganay iced the victory with a pair of free throws. Robin Rono fired a hail mary in dreams of forcing overtime, but his shot only hit the back iron as time expired.
“We’ll take it. A win is a win,” said coach Lawrence Chongson.
Lingganay topped the Rhum Masters with 15 points, five rebounds, and four assists.
Louie Vigil also fired 10 of his 14 points in the first quarter, while also hitting the game-tying basket at 78 with 1:17 left on the clock. He also hauled in nine boards in the victory.
“Ganun talaga. Mahirap kalaban yung ganung team na nothing to lose. At the same time, nag-pile up na rin yung pressure sa amin as seen today and sa last game namin against Blustar,” Chongson, as he noted Tanduay’s 105-102 overtime win over the Dragons last Tuesday.
“Mabuti na mangyari na yun ngayon, na we’re learning our lessons while winning. Hopefully maging eye opener ito sa amin to have that sense of urgency.”
Rono played superb against his former team, dropping 22 points, five rebounds, and three assists, while Cawaling also had 22 markers for the still winless Topstar ZC Mindanao (0-6).
TANDUAY 84 – Lingganay 15, Vigil 14, Acuna 11, Belencion 10, Alolino 9, Javillonar 9, Gotladera 7, Mendoza 5, Celda 2, Santos 2, Acibar 0, Enguio 0, Stevens 0, Tagarda 0.
TOPSTAR ZC MINDANAO 81 – Cawaling 22, Rono 22, Ignacio 11, Jumao-as 10, Acosta 6, Cabrera 6, Garcia 3, Rivera 1, Argamino 0, Ongteco 0, Sarangay 0, Tano 0.
Quarters: 17-16, 37-33, 59-60, 84-81.
RACAL 93 – Ortuoste 20, Grey 19, Celiz 11, Maiquez 9, Robles 9, Javier 8, Corpuz 6, Paniamogan 5, Gabawan 4, Banal 2, Neypes 0, Terso 0.
PHOENIX 78 – Belo 22, Pogoy 16, Tolomia 13, Daquioag 5, Andrada 4, Batino 4, Escoto 4, Jamito 4, Mendoza 4, Knuttel 2, Inigo 0, Tamsi 0.
Quarters: 29-22, 40-38, 65-64, 93-78.