Marinerong Pilipino survived BRT Sumisip Basilan-St. Clare’s late rally to take the 69-59 Game One victory to move on the cusp of claiming the 2019 PBA D-League Foundation Cup title Thursday at Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig.
Rev Diputado was the only player to finish in double figures in the win with his 12 points as the Skippers took a 1-0 lead in the best-of-three championship series.
Coach Yong Garcia, however, is far from satisfied with the win, especially after Marinerong Pilipino lost grip of its 19-point halftime lead, 43-24, and saw it drop to as low as seven.
“Yun ang naging problema namin before at lumabas ulit,” he said. “Dapat pagdating ng Game Two, hindi kami dapat parang roller coaster. Dapat mag-stick kami sa gameplan namin.”
The Skippers flaunted their experience early on, grabbing a 19-5 lead to start the before extending the lead to 19 at halftime.
But they suddenly went cold in the third canto as they only scored seven points while the Saints went to Mohammed Pare to trim the lead down, 64-57, with 1:52 to go in the final frame.
Lucky for Marinerong Pilipino, Eloy Poligrates came up with a pair of huge stops on Pare in the clutch to stop the rally and come away with the 10-point triumph in its 10th straight win — on the verge of being only the third team to go perfect in one conference after NLEX did it in the 2012 and 2014 Foundation Cups.
Poligrates chipped in nine points, seven assists, four steals, and two rebounds for the Skippers, as Will McAloney registered nine points and four boards.
Marinerong Pilipino will look to sweep its way to its first-ever title on Game Two on Wednesday at Cuneta Astrodome.
Jhaps Bautista led BRT Sumisip-St. Clare with 17 points, while the Malian Pare supplied 14 points and 12 rebounds in the loss.
Marinerong Pilipino 69 — Diputado 12, Poligrates 9, McAloney 9, Santillan 8, Alabanza 6, Rios 6, Ayonayon 4, Clarito 4, Mangahas 4, Yee 4, Villarias 3, Sara 0.
BRT Sumisip-St. Clare 59 — Bautista 17, Pare 14, Fontanilla 7, Hallare 7, Gabo 5, Collado 3, Dumapig 3, Batino 2, Manacho 1.
Quarterscores: 21-8, 43-24, 54-41, 69-59.