Emerging as favorites in the 2016 PBA D-League Aspirants’ Cup, Caida proved its mettle with a 90-79 victory against Tanduay on Thursday, Jan. 21 at San Juan Arena.
Jiovani Jalalon led the Tile Masters in the season-opening win with 17 points, nine assists, and five rebounds, while Chris Javier added 16 markers and seven boards. Billy Robles also poured six of his 16 points in the final period, when the Tile Masters finally broke away for good.
The trio conspired for a 10-0 run to turn a slim 76-73 lead in the last 2:23 to an 83-73 advantage late, capitalizing on two costly turnovers from Tanduay that sealed the game for good.
“It’s nice to win the first game. Nagaadjust pa yung players, and I think the players have to work more on their defense,” said Tile Masters coach Caloy Garcia. “We just hope that we continue our run in the coming games.”
Ryan Wetherell paced the Rhum Masters with 21 points, 10 coming in the fourth, to go with eight rebounds and six assists. Pari Llagas and Joseph Eriobu both had 11 in the defeat.
In the second game, Raymond Aguilar drained a huge trey to ice the game as UP QRS/JAM Liner slipped past BDO-NU, 90-85.
The 30-year-old big man got free from the top of the key and drilled the huge basket to push the Maroons to an 89-85 lead. Kevin Ferrer, then, baited Alfred Aroga to his sixth foul with a charge and gave his team another possession with 20.4 ticks remaining. Aguilar followed it up with a split on the charity stripe to make it a five-point game to ice the game.
Aguilar had 18 points on a perfect 3-of-3 shooing from rainbow country, and also added 13 rebounds to his name.
Paul Desiderio topscored with 24 markers, while Juneric Baloria got 16 markers. Gelo Alolino also had 11 in the win.
“It was a different experience because it’s hard to blend college and pro guys together,” said UP QRS/JAM Liner team consultant Joe Ward. “It’s kind of tough, but playing the first game, blending different styles, and in the end, coming out with the win, what can you say? It’s a good thing.”
J-Jay Alejandro carried BDO-NU with 21 points, from an 11-of-14 shooting from the charity stripe, while Nico Javelona chipped in 13 markers in the loss.
Games Monday, Jan. 25
Ynares Sports Arena, Pasig
2 p.m. CafeFrance vs Mindanao Aguilas
4 p.m. Phoenix Petroleum vs Wangs Basketball