MANILA, Philippines – Marinerong Pilipino survived BRT Sumisip Basilan-St Clare's late rally to take a 69-59 Game 1 victory and move on the cusp of claiming the 2019 PBA D-League Foundation Cup title Thursday, October 3 at Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig.
Rev Diputado led a balanced charge with 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 7 points.
"Yun ang naging problema namin before at lumabas ulit," he said. "Dapat pagdating ng Game 2, hindi kami dapat parang roller coaster. Dapat mag-stick kami sa game plan namin."
(It was our problem before and it’s showing up again. In Game 2, it shouldn’t be a roller-coaster run. We should stick to the game plan.)
The Skippers flaunted their experience early on, grabbing a 19-5 lead to start the game before extending their edge to 19 at halftime.
But they suddenly went cold in the 3rd canto as they only scored 7 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 9 points, 7 assists, 4 steals, and 2 rebounds for the Skippers, as Will McAloney registered 9 points and 4 boards.
Marinerong Pilipino will look to sweep its way to its first-ever title in Game 2 on Wednesday at the 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.
St Clare 59 – Bautista 17, Pare 14, Fontanilla 7, Hallare 7, Gabo 5, Collado 3, Dumapig 3, Batino 2, Manacho 1.
Quarters: 21-8, 43-24, 54-41, 69-59.