(Alonte Sports Arena)
5 p.m. -- Tanduay vs. Phoenix (Finals, Game 3)
(Series tied at 1-1)
INSTEAD of celebrating another championship, Phoenix will make another trip to Biñan City in Laguna to frustrate Tanduay’s date at history.
The Accelerators and the Rhum Masters clash for one final time to dispute the PBA D-League Foundation Cup title in the deciding Game 3 at 5 p.m. today at the Alonte Sports Arena.
Tanduay needed a big fourth quarter breakaway to beat Phoenix, 89-75, and the best-of-three championship to a winner-take-all Tuesday night.
The Rhum Masters refuse to feel confident with their chances, as coach Lawrence Chongson made it clear that all what his team did is to drag the Accelerators to another game.
“Phoenix is a dangerous animal. I would want nothing else but to win on Thursday,” said Chongson. “It’s just our instinct to survive. We’re holding on to nothing but ourselves.”
Dating back to its semifinals series against top seed Racal, Tanduay is now 3-0 in elimination games this conference.
Sustaining his solid play in the playoffs, Gelo Alolino exploded for 26 points in the Rhum Masters’ series-tying victory, while also getting ample help from teammates Reden Celda.
Tanduay hopes that Kevin Ferrer, after scoring only five points in Game 2, will produce more in the decider.
Coach Eric Gonzales offered no excuses for the Accelerators’ big fourth quarter breakdown in Game 2.
“They deserved to win because they outhustled us,” said Gonzales.
Phoenix now really needs to unleash its A-game to join NLEX as the only D-League teams to win two or more crowns.
For Mac Belo, the Game 2 setback this is just a momentary hump as the Accelerators eye to cop both titles this season.
“Malaki ang tiwala ko sa team namin,” said Belo, who was ejected late in the game due to two technical fouls.
Conference MVP Mike Tolomia seeks to rebound from a eight-point outing in Game 2 along with Belo, Ed Daquioag, and RR Pogoy for Phoenix.
Still claiming as the underdogs in this matchup, Chongson knows that the Rhum Masters are destined to win it all and be crowned as the comeback kids in the season-ending tournament.
“People are already writing us off, but it’s a testament na habang may buhay, may pag-asa,” said Chongson.