FLYING V held off Centro Escolar University, 65-61, in Game One of the PBA D-League Foundation Cup semifinals on Thursday at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig.
The Thunder stretched their win streak to 11 and are now one win away from the finals of the season-ending conference.
Jeron Teng scored 17 points, pulled down 13 rebounds and made seven assists to lead the Thunder.
Eric Salamat, who has reportedly drawn interest from a PBA team, scored 12.
Gab Banal also had 12 points and came up with the defensive stop on CEU reinforcement Rod Ebondo that put the game away.
Banal drew an offensive foul on the CEU import with 8.6 ticks left before Jerick Canada sealed the win with a pair of free throws.
"Pagdating sa mga ganitong sitwasyon, you need to assert defensively," said Flying V coach Eric Altamirano.
"We just have to continue grinding. We're gonna need that especially in the second game. We need to do a better job controlling the rebounds and blocking their other bigs."
Ebondo had 20 points and 27 boards, two short of matching Jay-R Taganas' league record for most rebounds.
Game Two is on Tuesday.
Flying V 65 - Teng 17, Banal 12, Salamat 12, Torres 6, Austria 5, Dionisio 4, Thiele 3, Cañada 2, Paredes 2, Tampus 2, Koga 0.
CEU 61 - Ebondo 20, Aquino 17, Wamar 9, Cruz 8, Jeruta 6, Casiño 1, Fuentes 0, Guinitaran 0, Intic 0.
Quarterscores: 14-13; 31-32; 54-46; 65-61.