The Go for Gold Scratchers rode the hot shooting night of Matt Salem to score the 96-87, Game 1 win over the Marinerong Pilipino-TIP Engineers in the 2018 PBA D-League Foundation Cup semifinals Tuesday at Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig.
The sweet-shooting forward uncorked five triples to notch 24 points, while also doing his part off-ball with eight rebounds, two assists, two steals, and two blocks.
Jai Reyes chipped in 17 points, five boards, and three assists. The debuting Jerick Canada corralled 11 points, six rebounds, and five assists.
Jerwin Gaco, Vince Tolentino, and Kris Porter all scored nine points, while also being a solid presence down low with a combined 15 rebounds to help the Scratchers take the 1-0 lead in their best-of-three series.
“The players played well. I told the players that at the end of the day, it’s the players will win the game. We’ll keep it simple and I know the players are talented players. Today, they performed,” said coach Charles Tiu.
Tiu’s ejection at the 7:02 mark of the fourth quarter seemed to light a fire under Go for Gold. After Robbie Manalang’s freebie cut the lead down to five, 74-69, the Scratchers went on a strong surge to zoom ahead, 94-78, capped by a triple from Salem with 1:31 left on the clock.
“It’s hard to beat a team three times in a row. Baka today na yun, but luckily, we got away with the win,” he said.
Abu Tratter led the charge for the Engineers 27 points and five rebounds, as Trevis Jackson got 21 points, 10 assists, and three boards in the losing cause.
The Scratchers seek to advance to the Finals with another victory over Marinerong Pilipino-TIP on Thursday.
Go for Gold 96 – Salem 24, Reyes 17, Canada 11, Gaco 9, Porter 9, Tolentino 9, Publico 8, Banal 4, Wong 3, Pili 2.
Marinerong Pilipino-TIP 87 – Tratter 27, Jackson 21, Manalang 11, Napoles 11, Thiele 8, Johnson 7, Medina 2, Enguio 0, Ndiaye 0, Palencia 0.
Quarterscores: 23-21, 42-37, 68-58, 96-87.