Mac Belo took over for the Accelerators in the second half to help Phoenix gain a 1-0 lead over the Tanduay Rhum Masters, 84-76, in Game One of the 2016 PBA D-League Foundation Cup Finals, Thursday evening at Alonte Sports Arena in Binan, Laguna.
The former FEU star willed the Accelerators to victory, pouring 27 of his 30 points in the last two quarters, to go along with 14 rebounds and three assists.
“He refused to give up,” gushed the Phoenix head coach Eric Gonzales about Belo.
The Accelerators also bucked a sluggish first half in which the Rhum Masters pounced on them in the paint. Belo kickstarted Phoenix’s telling 10-0 run as they overhauled a 67-66 deficit midway in the fourth and turned it to a 76-67 lead with 3:17 remaining.
“Ang pep talk namin kanina is it depends kung sino ang uhaw. Sabi kasi ni coach Lawrence (Chongson), mas uhaw ang Tanduay. I challenged yung mga bata to show it on the court,” Gonzales furthered.
Phoenix would soon solve that woes, outscoring Tanduay, 22-6, in second chance points.
Roger Pogoy chipped in 22 markers, six boards, and three assists, while Mike Tolomia had 12 points, six dimes, and three rebounds.
Reden Celda led Tanduay with 15 points, four rebounds, and three assists, while Rudy Lingganay got 13 markers, four dimes, and three boards in the loss.
Phoenix can finish the series and snare the title on Tuesday at the Strike Gym in Bacoor, Cavite.
Phoenix (84) – Belo 30, Pogoy 22, Tolomia 12, Daquioag 7, Mendoza 7, Andrada 2, Colina 2, Escoto 2, Batino 0, Inigo 0, Jamito 0, Tamsi 0.
Tanduay (76) – Celda 15, Lingganay 14, Eguilos 10, Ferrer 10, Mendoza 10, Alolino 6, Santos 4, Belencion 3, Tagarda 3, Acuna 2, Javillonar 0.
Quarterscores: 21-22, 40-40, 58-57, 84-76.