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Belencion leads balanced effort, carries Tanduay to first win

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The Tanduay Rhum Masters leaned on the hot hands of Jaypee Belencion to easily trounce the ZC-Mindanao Aguilas, 95-56, and break into the win column of the PBA D-League Aspirants Cup Thursday at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig.

Belencion exploded early, knocking down three triples as he tallied 13 of his team-high 18 points in the opening quarter alone.

Rudy Lingganay ended the first quarter with a layup and buzzer-beating three to hand the Rhum Masters a 31-17 lead.

Belencion then hit another three to open the second period, while Adi Santos and Fonso Gotladera took turns dominating the paint as Tanduay took control of the match, 45-22.

The Rhum Masters then opened the third quarter with a 10-2 run highlighted by two long range shots from Lucas Tagarda as their lead further ballooned to 63-32. The team outscored the struggling Aguilas 22-4 in the the quarter.

Tanduay, who led by as much as 44, improved to 1-2 with the victory, while Mindanao remain, winless at 0-3.

Rhum Masters head coach Lawrence Chiongson noted the importance of finally booking a win as it gives much-needed momentum to his squad.

“We just buckled down to work,” he said. “Mahirap psychologically. Kapag hindi ka pa nakakuha ng first win, nakaka (down) ng morale din yan eh.”

Chiongson added that he hopes the 0-2 start in the tournament serves as a wake-up call for the group.

“Sana yung 0-2 namin, magamit namin sa positive,” he said.

Santos chipped in 14 points on a perfect 7-for-7 shooting and grabbed 7 rebounds. Four players finished in double-digits for Tanduay, who shot 59 percent from the field and assisted 26 of 38 field goal makes.

Mindanao, meanwhile, failed to gain rhythm, hitting only 31 percent of their attempts while also giving up 28 points to Tanduay off their 18 turnovers.

The Scores:
Tanduay (95) – Belencion 18, Santos 14, Lingganay 12, Tagarda 12, Eriobu 8, Gotladera 7, Javillonar 6, Celda 4, Koga 4, Wetherell 4, Cenal 2, Llagas 2, Lo 2, Pessumal 0.
ZC-Mindanao (56) – Garcia 11, Ongteco 11, Acibar 6, Sarangay 6, Ignacio 5, Jumao-as 5, Villanueva 5, Ferrer 3, Nalos 2, Rivera 3, Navarro 0, Rublico 0, Wetherell 0.
Quarterscores: 31-17, 53-30, 75-34, 95-56.

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