Lester Alvarez's breakout game goes for naught, but vows to help Tanduay reach D-League finals
Lester Alvarez finished with 15 points, including 10 in the payoff period in a Tanduay rally that fell short. Dante Peralta

LESTER Alvarez was disappointed to see his big game go for naught after stepping up for the struggling Mark Cruz in Tanduay’s Game Two loss to Cignal-San Beda in the PBA D-League Aspirants Cup semifinals on Thursday.

The 28-year-old playmaker, activated before Tanduay's quarterfinal match against AMA Online Education, finished with 15 points, including 10 in the payoff period to lead a 19-7 rally by the Rhum Masters that ultimately fell short as the Hawkeyes went on to force a deciding Game Three with a thrilling 89-86 victory at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig.

"Sayang," said a frustrated Alvarez when he emerged from the dugout. "Ang ganda nga ng laro ko pero natalo pa rin. Balewala. Mas maganda sana kung nanalo."

"Kinuha ako ni coach Lawrence (Chongson) para pag ganyan na off si Mark, kailangan ko mag step up para makatulong sa team," he added. 

[See Perkins, Raymundo hit big endgame baskets as Hawkeyes edge Rhum Masters to force semis decider]

But the second round pick in the PBA, who suited for Barako and Star for a couple of games, vowed to continue helping the team as well as guiding the young players as the Rhum Masters seek to reach the finals for the second straight conference. 

"Maga-adjust kami, do-or-die na. Gusto namin pumasok sa finals," he said. 

"Sarap sa feeling na bago lang ako tapos matutulungan ko sila pumasok ng finals," Alvarez added. 

Follow the writer on Twitter: @janbballesteros