BORACAY Rum went from almost taking an early vacation to grabbing the third seeding and a twice-to-beat advantage in the quarterfinals with a 63-54 win over Fruitas on Thursday in the PBA D-League Foundation Cup at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig City.
The Waves would have missed the playoffs had they lost to the Shakers due to an inferior quotient against four other teams.
Instead, the Waves took the No. 3 spot and the twice-to-beat advantage in the quarterfinals against sixth-ranked EA Regen Medical Group.
Jeff Viernes had 12 points including the clutch conversions in the final two minutes of the victory to seal the win for the Waves, who ended the eliminations with a 7-4 win-loss card.
Boracay Rum coach Lawrence Chongson said that it was the “game of the year” for his team.
“If we lose, bakasyon kami. Next D-league may start late October pa, eliminations palang ’yun. It is our game of the year for 2013,” said Chongson.
“Sabi ko, we can’t afford to lose. Monumental itong panalo na ito sa franchise namin. Eto na ang pinakamalayong narating namin. Who knows, we might make it to the Final Four,” added Chongson.
Fruitas missed out on an outright berth in the semifinals and settled for fourth spot in the quarterfinals, where they have a twice-to-beat advantage against No. 5 Big Chill.
The quarterfinal round starts on May 21 at the Blue Eagle Gym. Do-or-die matches, if necessary, will be played May 23 at the same venue.
With Boracay leading by two points, Viernes stole the ball from Jan Colina and converted two free throws off a foul with Fruitas in penalty, 56-52, with two minutes left in the fourth.
Viernes made it a six-point cushion with a running shot with 37.4 seconds left in the game. He also made three of Boracay Rum’s five free throw conversions to seal the victory.
Paolo Taha had 11 points while Jaymo Egulos grabbed 11 rebounds for Boracay Rum.
Boracay Rum was protecting a 50-44 lead when Lastimosa scored six straight points for Fruitas to tie the game. The Far Eastern University-backed Shakers, however, missed crucial shots and committed turnovers in the end.
Blackwater Sports also clinched the second outright semifinal berth with Fruitas’ defeat.
Boracay Rum (63) – Viernes 12, Taha 11, Fernandez 9, Eguilos 8, Acibar 6, Siruma 5, Sabellina 5, Ilagan 4, Cabrera 3, Pasculado 0, Arellano 0, Tagarda 0.
Fruitas (54) – Lastimosa 12, Escoto 9, Cruz 8, Escobal 8, Colina 5, Semira 5, Tolomia 3, Sentcheu 2, Caram 2, Mendoza 0, Pogoy 0, Antonio 0.
Quarterscores: 10-15; 26-28; 43-40; 63-54.