A highly-motivated Jumbo Plastic side stunned top seed Caida, 79-61, to move a win away from becoming the inaugural champion of the PCBL Founders Cup Friday night at the JCSGO gym.
Driven by statement earlier made by Caida’s premier forward Ford Ruaya, who picked Jumbo Plastic as lighter opponent than Sta. Lucia, the Linoleum Giants played a statement game, outworking and outplaying the Tile Masters on the way to the wire-to-wire win.
Jumbo Plastic leads the best-of-three finals, 1-0, and can wrap up the title series supported by Aquabest, Accel, Spalding, and Ambucore with another victory on Sunday’s Game Two.
“In our team, we always preach discipline, madadala mo kasi yun sa practice and sa game,” said Jumbo Plastic coach Stevenson Tiu. “We tried to keep even harder.”
Mark Lopez, who finished with 14 points and nine rebounds, doesn’t want to pay attention on the statement issued by Caida, but instead focused on helping his team in notching its first win.
“Whatever happens, we have to stay humble,” added Lopez.
Caida Tiles took a week-long break after clinching the first finals berth following a two-game sweep of Euro-Med in the semis.
The Tile Masters appeared rusty in the series opener as they were a step slower than their opponents,, who beat them in rebounds (44-36), assists (16-8), steals (6-2), and points off turnovers (16-4).
The Linoleum Giants took an early 20-9 lead off a three-pointer by ex-Powerade guard James Martinez then padded it to as high as 58-34, off a three-point play completed by former PBA player Marcy Arellano at the 5:39 mark of the third period.
Game 2 of the finals will be held at the Malolos City Sports and Convention Center, home court of the Tile Masters, right after the playoff match for third place between Sta. Lucia and Euro-Med.
JUMBO PLASTIC (79) – Martinez 22, Arellano 16, M. Lopez 14, Viernes 7, J. Lopez 6, Eguilos 5, Padilla 5, Taganas 4, Mandani 0, Perez 0.
CAIDA TILES (61) – Jalalon 11, Maiquez 9, Ruaya 7, Hayes 7, Robles 7, Lozada 6, Corpuz 4, Gabawan 4, Terso 4, Leynes 2, Jamon 0, Rios 0, Almario 0.
Quartercores: 23-13; 44-26; 63-45; 79-61.