TANDUAY finally booked its first trip to the PBA D-League finals following a thrilling 81-70 over top-seed Racal at the Strike Gym in Bacoor, Cavite on Tuesday.
It's the first time Tanduay made the finals since the league's inception in 2012, and coach Lawrence Chongson wants to make the most of this opportunity when they meet Phoenix in the best-of-three showdown for the Foundation Cup title, which starts on Thursday at the Alonte Gym in Binan, Laguna.
"We want to go all the way. Hindi lang finals habol namin, gusto na namin mag-champion," said Chongson.
Reden Celda led the Rhum Masters with 21 points.But it was Gelo Alolino and Kevin Ferrer who sparked the late-game blitz that allowed them to pull away for good.
Tanduay doused Racal's mini surge halfway through the fourth period behind Alolino and Ferrer, who shot two three-pointers each down the stretch.
The last trey from Ferrer gave Tanduay a 79-66 lead with under two minutes left.
Alolino and Ferrer had 14 and 13 points, respectively.
The Tile Masters, who squandered a twice-to-beat advantage in the semifinals, simply had no answer for Tanduay's onslaught in the final minutes.
Jamil Ortuoste led Racal with 16 points, while Jonathan Grey chipped in 11.
TANDUAY 81 - Celda 21, Alolino 14, Ferrer 13, Acuna 6, Eguilos 6, Santos 6, Gotladera 5, Lingganay 4, Tagarda 4, Javillonar 2, Belencion 0, Mendoza 0.
RACAL 70 - Ortuoste 16, Grey 15, Celiz 11, Maiquez 9, Paniamogan 8, Cabrera 4, Terso 3, Javier 2, Neypes 2, Banal 0, Corpuz 0, Robles 0.
Quarterscores: 15-13, 31-38, 59-54, 81-70.