BORACAY Rum continued its impressive run in the PBA D-League Foundation Cup, clinching a place in the semifinal round with a 71-68 victory over EA Regen Medical Group on Tuesday at the Blue Eagle Gym.
Maclean Sabellina scored with 15 points including four straight points that sealed the win and enabled the Waves to book their first-ever trip to the semifinal round.
An elated coach Lawrence Chongson said that it was Waves’ desire to win that made the difference in the game.
"We entered the court, we never talked about Thursday," said Chongson. "I told the guys, ‘It’s either we want it or we don’t.’ I thought today we played as tough as nails. They didn’t succumb to pressure."
The Waves will next face second-seed Blackwater Sports in a best-of-three semifinals.
Sabellina hit two crucial free throws with 31.4 seconds left to give the Waves a 69-68 lead then hit two more from the stripe after Boracay Rum won a jumpball, 71-68, with 8.1 seconds remaining.
EA Regen actually took the lead with less than two minutes left in the fourth on a triple by Jimbo Aquino, 67-67. Aquino later split his charities that gave the Regens a one-point advantage with 43.1 seconds left.
The Pampanga-based squad had two good looks at a basket that could have forced overtime but Aquino and Tata Bautista missed on their three-point attempts in the dying seconds.
Raymund Almazan had another double-double effort of 14 points and 16 rebounds for the Regens, who finished with a 6-5 (win-loss) record in the eliminations of their maiden tournament in the league.
Fellow big man Ian Sangalang recorded 10 points but was just 5-of-16 from the field.
"I really thought a big part of our success had to do with our defense. We made stops and we took away the games of their two star big men," said Chongson.
Boracay Rum (71) – Sabellina 19, Eguilos 10, Taha 10, Pasculado 9, Ilagan 8, Arellano 4, Fernandez 3, Acibar 3, Tagarda 2, Viernes 0, Bandaying 0.
EA Regen Medical Group (68) – Aquino 17, Almazan 14, Nuyles 10, Sangalang 10, Bautista 8, Knuttel 4, Juico 2, Terso 2, Maiquez 1, Allen 0, Tolentino 0, Miranda 0, Del Rio 0.
Quarterscores:17-16; 37-38; 56-56; 71-68.