Tanduay Rhum fired 59 points in one of their best first-half performances in the PBA D-League. The Rhum Masters’ second half, however, was one of the most atrocious and the team was fortunate to prevail and take the 83-81 win over BDO-National University Thursday in the Aspirants Cup at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig.
“We will take it although ang sama ng second half namin. I warned them about being complacent. Isang iglap nawala nung third quarter (ang lamang),” Tanduay head coach Lawrence Chongson said.
“Hopefully something like this will keep us on our toes. Kahapon pa sinabi ko sa kanila delikado kalaban yung mga ganyang team. Babalik at babalik yan. And they pushed us to the wall.”
Tanduay squandered a 29-point lead before dodging bullets late as the team extended its winning streak to five games. The Rhum Masters improved to 5-2 in the team standings to strengthen its bid for a twice-to-beat incentive entering the quarter-finals.
Val Acuna led four players in double-digits for Tanduay with 14 points including a 50 percent clip from three-point range. Reden Celda added 11 points while Jaypee Belencion and Pari Llagas had 10 points apiece.
BDO-NU dropped to 1-5 and shall have to take care of its last two assignments to make sure the team takes a quarter-final berth.
The Rhum Masters looked exactly like a team coming into the game with a hot streak; they had 10 players scoring in double-digits in the first half alone, with Acuna and Belencion combining for 20 first-half points including five threes as their team surged ahead, 59-32.
But the resilient BDO-NU side stormed back in the second half with a better effort on the defensive end. A 9-1 run with Dave Yu hitting a triple and a basket followed by Alfred Aroga’s inside shot cut the Tanduay lead down to 60-43. Aroga continued to dominate the interior while JJ Alejandro and Meds Salim also joined the fray, as BDO-NU pulled within 63-56.
Lingganay and Celda answered for Tanduay to extend the cushion up to 68-56. Threes by Celda and Von Pessumal pushed the Rhum Masters’ advantage to 76-65 early in the fourth.
Later, Jeff Javillonar and Pari llagas combined for five straight in a stretch which saw Tanduay’s lead grow to 83-71 with under three minutes left. That stretch would have sealed the win for Tanduay, but the Bulldogs refused to back down.
Alejandro drilled another triple while Aroga and Salim each added baskets under the final minute to cut the deficit down to 83-80. Aroga’s split from the line with 18.6 seconds left capped a 10-0 BDO-NU run which made it only an 83-81 lead for Tanduay.
The Rhum Masters then turned the ball over, leaving the Bulldogs with 8.5 seconds to try and steal the match. Alejandro, however, turned the ball over as well on a bad pass with 3.2 seconds left.
But Tanduay had an error on the inbound pass, as Alejandro stole the ball and dished to Matt Salem, whose triple only hit the front of the rim, allowing Tanduay to escape.
Alejandro had 19 points on 7-for-13 shooting for the Bulldogs, while Aroga finished with 18 points and 17 boards.
Tanduay Rhum (83) – Acuna 14, Celda 11, Belencion 10, Lingganay 10, Wetherell 9, Llagas 8, Gotladera 6, Javillonar 6, Pessumal 5, Santos 4.
BDO-NU (81) – Alejandro 19, Aroga 18, Salim 16, Perez 7, Yu 7, Diputado 4, Javelona 4, Salem 4, Labing-isa 2.
Quarterscores: 30-15, 59-32, 68-57, 83-81.