By Jerome Lagunzad
Games Tomorrow (Ynares Sports Arena)
3 p.m. — Marinerong Pilipino vs Wang’s Basketball
5 p.m. — Racal Motors vs Batangas
Tanduay achieved its immediate goal last night, but coach Lawrence Chongson felt the Rhum Masters still have some rough edges to deal with ahead of tougher battles.
Thanks to the combined heroics of Paul Varilla and James Martinez in the final canto, Tanduay survived a hard-fighting Wang’s Basketball crew 93-81 to clinch a playoff ticket in the 2017 PBA D-League Foundation Cup at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig City.
The off-the-bench Martinez tallied a team-high 16 points, seven of them coming in the decisive frame, while Varilla banged in five points in an 11-4 closeout in the final 2:25 as the Rhum Masters overcame the Couriers’ last-ditch fightback.
More importantly, Tanduay racked up its third straight victory and sixth overall against two losses, tightening its hold of the third spot while clinching a quarterfinal seat in the process.
Michael Juico rammed in 11 of his game-high 24 points in the final frame as he tried to keep the Couriers in the thick of the fight, only to see Varilla, veterans JR Taganas, Lester Alvarez and Jom Sollano keep the Rhum Masters steady in the crunch.
Earlier, Marinerong Pilipino proved too much to handle for eliminated Zark’s Burgers 119-74 and kept its flickering playoff hopes alive.
Guard Pao Javelona dished out an all-around performance of a team-high 17 markers, seven assists, four boards, and three steals while six other teammates added at least 11 points each as the Skippers immediately asserted their dominance over the Jawbreakers.
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