MATT Salem drilled five treys to propel Go for Gold to a 96-87 win over Marinerong Pilipino-TIP in Game 1 of their 2018 PBA D-League Foundation Cup semifinal series on Tuesday at Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig.
The former NU Bulldog converted five of his nine shots from downtown and finished with 24 points, eight rebounds, two assists, two steals, and two blocks as the Scratchers took a 1-0 lead in their best-of-three series.
Jai Reyes unloaded 17 points, five boards, and three assists, while new acquisition Jerick Canada had 11 points, six rebounds, and five assists. Jerwin Gaco, Vince Tolentino, and Kris Porter all had nine points apiece while combining for 15 rebounds in the triumph.
“I told the players that at the end of the day, it’s the players who will win the game. We’ll keep it simple and I know the players are talented players. Today, they performed,” said coach Charles Tiu.
Go for Gold can complete the sweep with a win over Marinerong Pilipino-TIP in Game 2, slated on Thursday.
Tiu got ejected after picking up a second technical foul for continuous complaining with 7:02 remaining and the bonus free throws got the Engineers within five, 74-69.
But that only fired the Scratchers up as they went on a strong surge to finish off the game, 94-78, after a Salem trey with 1:31 left to play.
“Mas natakot nga ako. It’s hard to beat a team three times in a row. Baka today na yun, but luckily, we got away with the win,” he said.
Abu Tratter poured 27 points and five rebounds in the loss as Trevis Jackson got 21 points, 10 assists, and three boards.
GO FOR GOLD 96 – Salem 24, Reyes 17, Canada 11, Gaco 9, Porter 9, Tolentino 9, Publico 8, Banal 4, Wong 3, Pili 2.
MARINERONG PILIPINO-TIP 87 – Tratter 27, Jackson 21, Manalang 11, Napoles 11, Thiele 8, Johnson 7, Medina 2, Enguio 0, Ndiaye 0, Palencia 0.
Quarters: 23-21, 42-37, 68-58, 96-87.