With their backs against the wall, the Racal Tile Masters showed their grit and held off the Cignal-San Beda HD Hawkeyes, 100-90, Monday evening at Filoil Flying V Centre in San Juan City, to force a Game 3 in the 2017 PBA D-League Aspirants’ Cup Finals.
Leaning on leaders Rey Nambatac and Jackson Corpuz, the Tile Masters staved off a late rally from the HD Hawkeyes, as they kept their foes at bay and preserved the victory late.
Nambatac scattered 24 points, four rebounds, three steals, and two assists, while Copruz dominated the paint with his double-double of 20 markers and 11 boards in the victory.
“We had a good start and identified their big three — Jason Perkins, Robert Bolick, and Javee Mocon. Magandang bagay na na-limit namin sila. It’s a big thing for us that those three played below average today,” said coach Jerry Codiñera, who was elated with the defensive work Racal did in Game 2.
Kent Salado also added 15 points, while Joseph Gabayni registered his best game to date with nine markers and 10 rebounds.
The Tile Masters lost hold of their 19-point advantage, 57-38, in the second quarter, after Perkins and Bolick teamed up to slowly claw Cignal back in the game and get to as close as five, 67-62 with 4:02 remaining in the third frame.
However, Corpuz and Salado closed the quarter out on a 14-7 tear to restore order, 81-69, and maintain the cushion in the fourth period to cruise to the conquest.
“Dapat handa ka whenever they go on a surge. We have to arrest that and today, nagawa naman namin,” said Codinera.
Racal scored 20 of their points from the charity stripe and had 50 bench points.
Conference MVP Robert Bolick carried the Hawkeyes with 18 points, 10 rebounds, and five assists, while Pamboy Raymundo scored 17 on a 3-of-8 shooting from threes in the loss.
Game 3 is on Thursday at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig City.
Racal (100) – Nambatac 24, Corpuz 20, Salado 15, Gabayni 9, Torres 8, Capacio 5, Dagangon 5, Flores 4, Onwubere 4, Cabrera 3, Mangahas 3, Gabawan 0, Gumaru 0, Terso 0.
Cignal-San Beda (90) – Bolick 18, Raymundo 17, Perkins 13, Potts 11, Bringas 8, Mocon 7, Villarias 7, Adamos 3, Arboleda 3, Oftana 3, Arong 0, Batino 0, Cahilig 0.
Quarterscores: 26-22, 57-42, 81-71, 100-90.