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Tiebreaker Times


Tanduay’s bench mob shocks Cafe France

Down by as much as 20 points in the second canto, the Tanduay Rhum Masters successfully rallied back in a second half turnaround to squeak an 84-80 escape held at the JCSGO Gym in Quezon City on Thursday.

The Bakers erased an early four-point deficit established by Tanduay behind Samboy De Leon and Carl Cruz’s early hustle from the inside. The slow-scoring affair in the opening chapter was halted by the insertion of John Casino, who drained back-to-back threes that lifted Cafe France in a 20-18 ending to it.

The second quarter went the way entirely for the Bakers, who outscored Tanduay 27-12. By crashing the boards, Cafe France blew the game wide open in a hasty span and led by double digits within four minutes of the new frame at 30-20.

“Yung mga bata, mahilig sa drama. Papatambak muna bago habulin. Buti na pang we woke up in the nick of time,” said Tanduay coach Lawrence Chongson.

An all-around offensive contribution led by Paul Zamar and Rodrigue Ebondo paced their squad in their one-sided dominance in the first half. Meanwhile, Tanduay had minimal scoring conversions, making only five points in the last half of the second period.

Second chance opportunities were capitalized by the Rhum Masters in the early goings of the new half to jumpstart their comeback attempts. What was once a 20-point lead in the latter part of the first half was shaved down to a dozen, as the trio of Gelo Alolino, Adrian Santos and Val Acuna charged the run.

A cold stretch of offense reversed Cafe France’s hot start, which limited them to nil field goals made in the last three minutes of the third quarter. On the other end, Alolino drained two more baskets at the end to trim the lead down to single digits entering the final frame of action.

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Gathered with all sorts of momentum, Tanduay was not yet done in their berserk late and continued their impressive scoring run. With still 2:17 left in the match, the game finally got tied at 78, completely writing off the one-sided affair early on in favor of Cafe France. Afterwards and for the first time since the opening frame, Santos gave the lead back to the Rhum Masters at 82-80.

In the last 1:20 stretch of the game, Tanduay successfully defended the minimal margin Mon Abundo, who went scoreless in the entire match, missed two potential tying tries. In addition, Louie Vigil denied Aaron Jeruta for a third try while Reden Celda swished two important free throws to seal the victory.

“Yung baon lang namin tapang at lakas ng loob. Hindi kami nag-give up,” Chongson added. “Madami kaming lapses pero ang kalaban namin defending champion eh.”

“Ang hindi ko lang matatanggal is yung pagpupursigi ng mga bata. Handa silang magpakamatay para manalo.”

Tanduay had 61 bench points that provided the much-needed spark for the comeback. Furthermore, they had more fastbreak points, 15-8. Also, they shot 48 percent from the floor, compared to the Bakers’ 35 percent. Cafe France missed 10 out of 27 attempts from the foul stripe.

Alolino had 22 points in the win, six rebounds and three assists, including a 7/10 clip from the two-point area. Santos added 17 markers and a rebound shy of a double-double on a perfect 8/8 shooting from the floor.

For the losing Cafe France, the troika of De Leon, Cruz, and Ebondo all had 15 markers apiece.

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The two teams now hold a similar 3-1 record, just behind the league leading Phoenix Petroleum, who stands at 4-0.

The Scores:

Tanduay (84) – Alolino 22, Santos 17, Celda 12, Vigil 9, Javillonar 6, Belencion 6, Acuna 4, Mendoza 4, Gotladera 2, Tagarda 2, Lingganay 0, Enguio 0, Stevens 0.

Cafe France(80) – Cruz 15, Ebondo 15, De Leon 15, Zamar 10, Manlangit 8, Jeruta 8, Casino 6, Opiso 2, Villahermosa 1, Abundo 0, Parala 0.

Quarterscores: 18-20, 30-47, 50-59, 84-80

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