MARK Cruz and Jerwin Gaco marked their reunion in the PBA D-League with big games in leading Tanduay to an 86-66 rout of Batangas on Monday at the JCSGO Gym in Cubao.
Cruz fired 29 points while Gaco had a double-double of 22 points and 11 rebounds in a splendid league debut as Tanduay arrested a two-game slide to improve to 4-3 (win-loss).
The two, who teamed up with the Star Hotshots in the PBA last season, combined for 16 points in the second period when the Rhum Masters pulled away to a 41-27 lead at halftime.
But all eyes were on the 36-year-old ex-pro, who was signed just this Sunday.
"The whole country knows Jerwin Gaco. Sa PBA swerte sya but he hardly played. So sabi ko siguro marami pa syang laman sa tanke nya kasi na preserve naman sya PBA e," said Chongson of Gaco, whose contract with the Star Hotshots expired after last season.
Tanduay's win gave Cafe France (5-1) and AMA Online Education (5-3) a safe passage to the quarterfinals.
Batangas, on the other hand, fell to 3-5 and is danger of bowing out of the playoffs.
Joseph Serudifa paced the Batanguenos with 14 points, while new addition Jessie Saitanan had 11 points.
TANDUAY 86 - Cruz 29, Gaco 22, Eguilos 11, Quinto 10, Vigil 5, Santos 3, Cenal 2, Sollano 2, Villamor 2, Asuncion 0, Palma 0, Sanga 0, Stevens 0, Varilla 0.
BATANGAS 66 - Sedurifa 14, Saitanan 11, Sara 10, Ablaza 7, Isit 6, De Joya 4, Mangabang 4, Dela Pena 3, Delfinado 3, Andrada 2, Laude 2, Fortu 0, Inciong 0, Lascano 0.
Quarterscores: 17-19, 41-27, 64-52, 86-66.