TANDUAY clamped down on defense in the final stretch to hack out an 81-72 win over Racal in the PBA D-League Foundation Cup at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig on Thursday.
Von Tambeling topscored for Tanduay with 13 points including eight in the opening quarter, while James Martinez and Renz Palma added 12 and 11 markers, respectively. Paul Varilla also chipped in 10.
But it was Tanduay's stiffling defense down the stretch that spelled the difference in the no-bearing match that served as tuneup game for the playoffs-bound Rhum Masters.
The Rhum Masters held the Alibaba to just two points in the final four minutes and 10 seconds to wrap up the elimination round with an 8-2 win-loss record.
Tanduay secured the third spot that comes with a twice-to-beat advantage in the quarterfinals.
"Hinabol ko na lang yung momentum namin, sayang naman," said Tanduay coach Lawrence Chongson.
Allan Mangahas paced Racal (3-6) with game-high 14 points, while Macmac Tallo scored 10 markers.
Tanduay 81 - Tambeling 13, Martinez 12, Palma 11, Varilla 10, Gaco 9, Sollano 7, Eguilos 4, Taganas 4, Vigil 4, Terso 3, Alvarez 2, Santos 2, Villamor 0.
Racal 72 - Mangahas 14, Tallo 10, Cabrera 9, Pontejos 9, Lozada 8, Capacio 6, Faundo 4, Gomez 3, Ortuoste 3, Cortes 2, Grimaldo 2, Octubre 2, Apreku 0, Ayonayon 0.
Quarterscores: 21-16, 49-44, 68-60, 81-72.