MANILA, Philippines – The Tanduay Rhum Masters are still in the running for an outright semifinals berth in the 2017 PBA D-League Foundation Cup after they defeated AMA Online Education, 91-80, on Monday at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig City.
The Rhum Masters won their fourth consecutive game to improve to 7-2, putting them in a tie with Cignal HD (7-2), and behind unbeaten Flying V (8-0).
However, Tanduay's fate does not rest entirely in their hands. The Rhum Masters still have to win their last assignment against the already-eliminated Racal Motors (3-5), while at the same time hope that Cignal loses to Centro Escolar University (5-3) on Tuesday afternoon.
Coach Lawrence Chongson said he will rather focus on his team's psyche, rather than dwell on the standings.
"Whatever happens, proseso 'yan," said Chongson. "Gusto ko lang mangyari is to build a certain identity, a certain culture, regardless of who we play against."
James Martinez led the Rhum Masters with 14 points and two assists, while Renz Palma dropped 11 markers and five dimes.
Jom Sollano also had his best game to date for Tanduay with 10 points and seven rebounds.
Mario Bonleon top-scored for the skidding AMA (1-8) with 23 points, but shot 8-of-23 from the field, on top of seven rebounds.
Daniel Salonga chimed in 15 markers, while Andre Paras contributed a double-double of 12 points and 12 boards.
TANDUAY 91 - Martinez 14, Palma 11, Sollano 10, Gaco 9, Vigil 9, Alvarez 8, Eguilos 6, Sanga 6, Santos 6, Varilla 6, Tambeling 4, Villamor 2, Taganas 0, Terso 0.
AMA 80 - Bonleon 23, Salonga 15, Paras 12, Alas 10, Magpantay 10, Calma 4, Macaranas 3, Malones 3, Carpio 0, Celso 0, Jordan 0.
Quarter scores: 21-18, 44-35, 65-53, 91-80.
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