Marinerong Pilipino averted a 32-point meltdown before downing Technological Institute of the Philippines, 98-80, to take a 1-0 lead in the 2019 PBA D-League Foundation Cup semifinals Thursday at Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig.
Eloy Poligrates paced the Skippers with 18 points, including 10 in the opening frame to spearhead his side’s 17-4 start as the victory put them a win away from making their first-ever Finals appearance.
Byron Villarias produced 15 points, all on threes, while the trio of Jordan Rios, Mark Yee, and Jhonard Clarito made sure Marinerong Pilipino avoided disaster in the end game.
With the Skippers already sitting at a 32-point cushion, 64-32, with 8:39 to go in the third canto, the Engineers crawled their way back as Papa Ndiaye got them within nine, 81-72, with 6:50 left in the payoff period.
The trio, however, had other plans as they conspired for a 17-2 run to bring the lead back to 24, 98-74, with 2:23 left en route to Marinerong Pilipino’s eighth straight win of the conference.
Rios supplied 12 points and 10 rebounds, Yee also got 12 points and four boards, and Clarito filled the stat sheet with 10 points, nine rebounds, six assists, five steals, and one block.
“Masaya dahil nakuha namin yung Game One pero kailangan pa rin trabahun ang Game Two dahil di pa tapos ang series,” said coach Yong Garcia. “Kailangan pa ng corrections dahil nung third quarter, medyo nag-relax kaya nakadikit sila.”
Marinerong Pilipino now has a chance to sweep the best-of-three series in Game Two on Monday.
Senegalese slotman Papa Ndiaye anchored TIP with 30 points, 17 rebounds, and three assists.
Bryan Santos provided 12 points and six rebounds, while fellow big man Ivan Santos chipped in 10 markers for the Engineers.
Marinerong Pilipino 98 — Poligrates 18, Villarias 15, Yee 12, Rios 12, Clarito 10, Alabanza 9, Diputado 7, Sara 6, Solis 4, Mangahas 2, Santillan 2, McAloney 1.
TIP 80 — Ndiaye 30, B. Santos 12, I. Santos 10, Bonsubre 8, De Mesa 7, Monte 5, Carurucan 4, Daguro 2, Tumalip 2, Alattica 0.
Quarterscores: 31-15, 55-32, 75-59, 98-80.