GAB Banal’s triple-double performance delivered Go for Gold a decisive 103-75 Game Two victory over Marinerong Pilipino-TIP Thursday at Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig to progress to the 2018 PBA D-League Foundation Cup Finals.
The leading Conference MVP candidate powered his side with 24 points, 19 rebounds, and 10 assists as he became the seventh player to achieve the feat. More importantly, his heroics led the Scratchers to sweep their best-of-three semifinals over the Engineers.
“I know Gab wants the MVP and he deserves it. Hes been our best player all conference long,” said coach Charles Tiu of Banal. “He’s very smart, very unselfish, and he helped us get to the Finals.”
Jerick Canada was also perfect from downtown, going 6-of-6 from beyond the arc to notch 18 points off the bench, as well as three assists and two boards.
Kris Porter added 13 points and two rebounds, Jai Reyes had 11 points and six assists, and Matt Salem got 10 points, three boards, and two dimes in the rout.
“The guys kept telling me, ‘Coach, relax ka lang.’ Pagdating daw ng playoffs, we’ll be alright and they proved themselves right,” said Tiu.
Go for Gold’s early barrage allowed it to establish a commanding 51-34 halftime lead, keeping Marinerong Pilipino-TIP at bay and eventually erected the lead to as much as 28, 101-73 late in the game.
It was a tough outing for the Engineers, which fell short in the semifinals once again.
Abu Tratter led Marinerong Pilipino-TIP with 20 points and 15 rebounds, while Trevis Jackson was held to just 13 points, five boards, four steals, and three dimes in the ouster.
GO FOR GOLD 103 – Banal 24, Canada 18, Porter 13, Reyes 11, Salem 10, Publico 7, Tolentino 6, Wong 6, Dennison 5, Pili 3, Castor 0, Gaco 0.
MARINERONG PILIPINO-TIP 75 – Tratter 20, Jackson 13, Palencia 11, Manalang 9, Medina 8, Thiele 6, Ndiaye 3, Enguio 2, Napoles 2, Johnson 1.
Quarters: 26-19, 51-34, 70-56, 103-75.