Tanduay rides huge third quarter surge to down Cignal, close in on Aspirants Cup finals berth
Mark Cruz teamed up with Jerwin Gaco in a pivotal third quarter run to help Tanduay pull away against Cignal-San Beda. Dante Peralta

JERWIN Gaco and Mark Cruz spearheaded a huge third quarter as Tanduay blasted Cignal-San Beda, 66-55, in Game One of the PBA D-League Aspirants' Cup semifinals at the Marikina Sports Complex on Tuesday. 

Gaco and Cruz combined for 22 points in the pivotal period that saw the Rhum Masters outscore the Hawkeyes, 28-15. 

The Rhum Masters took a 56-35 lead heading into the payoff period and the Hawkeyes showed little resistance from there. 

Gaco finished with 16 points, seven rebounds, and two assists, while Cruz scored 15. Adi Santos added 11 markers.

Tanduay moved a win away from booking a finals trip, but coach Lawrence Chongson refused to celebrate. 

"We haven't really won anything yet. We will go back to the drawing board," said Chongson. 

Pamboy Raymundo paced the Hawkeyes with 13 points, while Jayvee Mocon added 11.

The Scores:

TANDUAY 66 - Gaco 16, Cruz 15, Santos 11, Palma 6, Varilla 6, Eguilos 5, Vigil 3, Alvarez 2, Quinto 2, Sanga 0, Sollano 0, Stevens 0, Villamor 0.

CIGNAL 55 - Raymundo 13, Mocon 11, Bolick 9, Bringas 6, Perkins 6, Arong 4, Adamos 2, Arboleda 2, Tongco 2, Batino 0, Cahilig 0, Oftana 0, Potts 0, Villarias 0.

Quarterscores: 11-14, 28-20, 56-35, 66-55. 

Follow the writer on Twitter: @janbballesteros