Pegged as one of the favorites to win this tournament, the Caida Tile Masters, through a spectacular performance by floor general Jio Jalalon, were able break away in the fourth quarter to open their 2016 PBA D-League Aspirants Cup campaign with a win over the Tanduay Rhum Masters, 90-79, Thursday afternoon at the FilOil Flying V Centre.
The Rhum Masters were able to tie the game at 64-all to open the final frame, after a conversion by Pari Llagas. The two teams then exchanged careless turnovers and questionable shot decisions as the they remained in deadlock, 68-all, with 5:44 remaining in the game.
However, Arellano University standout Jio Jalalon displayed great leadership and court vision by finding Chris Javier and Janus Lozado, the latter for a three-pointer, to give Caida a five-point lead with 4:14 lead. A Tanduay timeout could not stop the Caida rally, as Roider Cabrera was able to knock down another three-pointer, his third of the game, to extend their lead to eight.
Reden Celda tried to ignite a Tanduay rally with a three-point play conversion, while Filipino-American Ryan Whetherell drove through the lanes for a quick layup to go down by just three, 76-73, with 2:21 left.
Free throws by Chris Javier and Billy Robles helped halt the Tanduay comeback. Moreover, turnovers and indecision on offence doomed the Rhum Masters late.
“It’s a good thing to win the first game,” said Caida head coach Caloy Garcia after the game.
He also admitted that this was the only second organized game his team has played, saying, “this is only the second time we were able to play together after a tune-up game.”
With arguably the strongest team on paper, and with Rey Nambatac still waiting on the sidelines, Garcia downplayed the match. “I like our chances but all the team’s have their chances as well. All the teams have a chance and who adjusts well has the best chance of winning,” he closed.
Jalalon led the Masters with 17 markers while also dishing out out nine assists. He was 5/9 from the field and 66% from the charity stripe. Former UE Red Warriors skipper Chris Javier had an impressive outing as well with 16 points and seven boards.
For the Rhum Masters, Ryan Wetherell stuffed the stat sheet with 21 points, eight boards, six assists, and two steals. He was excellent from the field, shooting at a 9/12 clip. Outside of him though, the Lawrence Chiongson-mentored squad shot an abysmal 20/64 from the field.
Caida (90) – Jalalon 17, Javier 16, Robles 14, Cabrera 9, Terso 7, Maiquez 6, Perkins 6, Lozada 4, Ruaya 4, Grey 3, Gabawan 2, Pasculado 2.
Tanduay (79) – Wetherell 21, Eriobu 11, Llagas 11, Celda 9, Lingganay 8, Pessumal 6, Gotladera 4, Javillonar 3, Tagarda 3, Santos 2, Cenal 1, Belencion 0.
Quarterscores: 28-23, 50-46, 64-62, 90-79.