By Jonas Terrado
Marinerong Pilipino encountered little trouble defeating Technological Institute of the Philippines, 98-80, in Game 1 of their best-of-three semifinal series Thursday to move a win shy of advancing to the PBA D-League Foundation Cup Finals at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig City.
Ex-pro Eloy Poligrates had 18 points while veteran guard John Villarias scored 15 points on five triples as the Skippers dominated the Engineers from the start to close in on the franchise’s first-ever appearance in the title series.
The Skippers go for the kill on Monday at the Paco Arena in Manila.
Coach Yong Garcia, however, noted that his team must address some minor problems, particularly in the second half when TIP threatened to erase a 64-32 third quarter deficit.
“Kailangan pa namin ng mga corrections dahil nung third quarter medyo nag-relax at nakadikit sila (We need to correct some of our mistakes because we relaxed a bit in the third quarter),” said Garcia.
Papa Ndiaye’s basket got TIP to within nine, 81-72, under seven minutes remaining in the fourth but Marinero responded with a 10-1 blitz which ended on back-to-back conversions by Jordan Rios for 91-72.
Ndiaye scored 30 points with 17 rebounds for TIP in a losing cause while Bryan and Ivan Santos added 12 and 10 points.
MARINERONG PILIPINO 98 — Poligrates 18, Villarias 15, Yee 12, Rios 12, Clarito 10, Alabanza 9, Diputado 7, Sara 6, Solis 4, Mangahas 2, Santillan 2, McAloney 1.
TIP 80 — Ndiaye 30, B. Santos 12, I. Santos 10, Bonsubre 8, De Mesa 7, Monte 5, Carurucan 4, Daguro 2, Tumalip 2, Alattica 0.
Quarters: 31-15; 55-32; 75-59; 98-80.