RACAL coach Caloy Garcia was pleased his gamble paid off as he rode his second unit down the stretch to defeat Phoenix, 90-88, in the PBA D-League Foundation Cup at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig City on Tuesday.
Facing a big deficit late and getting nothing from his starters, Garcia chose to roll with his bench led by Dexter Maiquez, Joseph Terso, and Philip Paniamogan.
"We were down by eight and I didn't put back the starters kasi technically, I think what gave us a hard time eh we missed 15 free throws," said Garcia, whose team shot 53 percent from the foul line.
"Kahit anong rally namin, kumbaga may pagkamalas pero at the end sinwerte naman," he added.
Maiquez dropped seven of his 19 points in the final period, and the seldom-used Terso hit two booming triples in the final three minutes to help the Tile Masters erase an eight-point deficit and set up Paniamogan's game-winning triple with 3.1 ticks left.
"We weren't really hitting anything until the end. So it's a big shot by Paniamogan, especially after Ed Daquioag hit the three-point shot," said Garcia.
"I just reminded the players that whatever is given to you, you have to take it," he added.
Garcia is thankful his wards did just that as Racal currently takes the top spot with an 8-2 win-loss card. and the amiable mentor is hopeful his team can secure at least the second spot at the end of the elimination round.
"We still have to beat Tanduay kasi Tanduay's win over Cafe France put everyone on the same place, so everybody has a chance to be 1 or 2," he said.
"But if we win one of the next two games, may chance pa rin naman kami sa top 2."
Cafe France is at second place with a 7-2 card, while Tanduay and Phoenix share the third spot with identical 7-3 records.