ELOY Poligrates ignited Marinerong Pilipino's early assault before holding on late to turn back Technological Institute of the Philippines, 98-80, on Thursday at Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig and move on the cusp of the 2019 PBA D-League Foundation Cup Finals.
The dazzling Cebuano guard kickstarted the Skippers' hot 17-4 opener as the lead swelled to 32 points numerous times early in the third frame.
Poligrates fired 10 of his 18 points in that blazing first quarter to go with two assists as Marinerong Pilipino took a 1-0 lead in the best-of-three semifinals.
The Engineers rallied behind Papa Ndiaye and got to within nine, 81-72, with 6:50 left in the fourth quarter, before the trio of Jordan Rios, Jhonard Clarito and Mark Yee combined for the killer 17-2 run that reinstated a 24-point edge, 98-74, with 2:23 remaining.
Rios racked 12 points and 10 boards, Clarito added 10 points, nine rebounds, six assists and five steals, and Yee unloaded 12 points and four boards as they finished off the job for Marinerong Pilipino.
"Masaya dahil nakuha namin yung Game One, pero kailangan pa rin trabahuin ang Game Two dahil di pa tapos ang series," said coach Yong Garcia, with his eyes already focused on the chance to sweep the series on Monday at Paco Arena.
Byron Villarias also waxed hot from deep as he fired 15 points built on five treys, while JR Alabanza just missed out on a double-double with his nine points and 11 rebounds, while aklso making four blocks and two assists as the Skippers cruised to their eighth straight win in the tournament.
Senegal's Ndiaye backstopped TIP with a team-high 30 points, 17 rebounds, three assists and three blocks.
Bryan Santos added 12 points and six rebounds, but shot 4-of-14 from the field, while Ivan Santos scored 10 for the Engineers.
Marinerong Pilipino 98 - Poligrates 18, Villarias 15, Yee 12, Rios 12, Clarito 10, Alabanza 9, Diputado 7, Sara 6, Solis 4, Mangahas 2, Santillan 2, McAloney 1.
TIP 80 - Ndiaye 30, B. Santos 12, I. Santos 10, Bonsubre 8, De Mesa 7, Monte 5, Carurucan 4, Daguro 2, Tumalip 2, Alattica 0.
Quarterscores: 31-15; 55-32; 75-59; 98-80.