The Caida Tile Masters finished the elimination round with just one loss, but are now in the brink of elimination.
During their elimination round encounter against the Phoenix-FEU Accelerators, the Tile Masters hadn’t been fazed by Mac Belo’s 41-point outing, as they routed Phoenix-FEU 108-91.
In Game One of the 2016 PBA D-League Semifinals, another Accelerator gained the hot hand: Ed Daquioag. “We know how Ed plays. We had a good defensive side but we kept on gambling too much. Every time we gambled for a steal, they just keep on hitting their layups,” said Caida head coach Caloy Garcia about Daquioag’s 16 point first half outing.
Even with the former University of Santo Tomas Growling Tiger lambasting the Caida defense en route to 32 points, the Tile Masters were still able to gain a 68-67 lead entering the final frame. However, selfishness – a problem Garcia had been avoiding with a team full of alpha males – and turnovers led to their demise. “Turnovers, we just turned the ball over too much. In the end game, we gambled on defense and on offense, we just kept on turning the ball over. We weren’t getting clear attempts,” Garcia lamented as his team committed 21 turnovers in the game, majority coming in the fourth quarter.
“Talent-wise, we’re a talented team. The question is if we’re gonna gel well together. We’re playing the game well but we got lots of bad calls. We just kept on losing our momentum.”
Phoenix-FEU were able to hold Caida to just three free throws and a meaningless layup in the last five minutes of the game. In doing so, the Accelerators were able to take the game, 90-83, to go up 1-0 in the best-of-three series.
Looking forward to Game Two on Tuesday at the Filoil Flying V Centre in San Juan City, Garcia hopes they can get back to their old ways of disciplined defense and great ball movement, to send the series to a win-or-go-home Game Three. “We’re still keeping our heads high because we know we’re a team capable to bounce back,” he closed. “We’ll take a break until Sunday. It’s a good break for them because we’re practicing a lot.”
“We just have to be ready on Sunday kasi baka mawala sila sa kundisyon. We’ll just fix on our mistakes.”