Foes-turned-friends Tratter, Tolentino lead Marinerong Pilipino to D-League semis
MANILA, Philippines – The streaking Marinerong Pilipino Skippers sailed straight to the PBA D-League Aspirants Cup semifinals after blasting the playoff-bound Che’lu-SSC Revellers, 82-67, at the Pasig City Sports Center, Tuesday, April 3.
In the crucial clincher game, it was former La Salle big man Abu Tratter and former Ateneo team captain Vince Tolentino who gave a big headache to Che’lu. Tratter finished with a game-high 16 points and 8 rebounds while Tolentino grabbed a team-high 9 boards to go along with 11 points.
Both players are no strangers to big games, however, as they both went head-to-head as bitter rivals just last February in the UAAP Season 80 finals, where Tolentino’s Blue Eagles nabbed the championship after a grueling 3-game series against the Green Archers.
The Skippers set the pace in emphatic fashion at the first quarter, opening the game with a massive 20-2 run. However, Allyn Bulanadi led a 10-1 recovery for Che’lu with back-to-back triples to end the quarter just down 9, 12-21. But the depth and defense of the Marinero squad was too much to overcome as Mike Ayonayon took charge and ended the half up 20 for the Skippers, 44-24.
To make matters worse for the Revellers, Alvin Pasaol and Billy Ray Robles also caught their teammates’ fire, as Marinero opened the second haif with a crushing 15-3 run to extend the lead to 32, 59-27. Jayson David scrapped on defense and scored 8 straight points in response, but it wasn’t enough to stop the Skippers from mounting a 70-41 advantage after 3.
With an insurmountable lead, the Skippers stepped back a little while Che’lu tried its best comeback effort, to no avail. The Revellers did outscore the Skippers in the fourth, 26-12, to trim down their huge deficit.
Aside from Tolentino and Tratter, Ayonayon was also key in the Skippers’ win, chipping in 15 points on 7/10 (70%) shooting. David meanwhile, paced Che’lu with 12 points – all coming in the second half.
Marinero now moves up to first place in the standings at 9-2, behind them Akari-Adamson Falcons who still have to play JRU on Thursday, April 5. If Akari loses that contest, they move down to the quarterfinals at third place while the CEU Scorpions clinch the last semis spot. Che’lu, meanwhile, drops to fourth place at 7-4.
In the first game, the Zark’s-LPU Jawbreakers downed the University of Perpetual Help Altas in overtime, 108-106, to move up to fifth place.
Marinerong Pilipino (82) – Tratter 16, Ayonayon 15, Tolentino 11, Pasaol 11, Toth 9, Banal 6, Robles 5, Inigo 3, Brill 2, Ebona 2, Lopez 2, Terso 0, Subido 0, Babilonia 0
Che’lu-SSC (67) – David 12, De Leon 10, Batino 10, Faundo 9, Lao 6, Bulanadi 6, Jeruta 4, Costelo 3, Capobres 3, Santos 2, Ilagan 2
Quarter Scores: 21-12, 44-24, 70-41, 82-67
STANDINGS (as of April 2, 2018)
Semis Picture (^ - clinched)
1. ^Marinerong Pilipino 9-2
2. Akari-AdU 8-2 (remaining: vs JRU)
3. CEU 8-3 (clinches semis if Akari loses)
4. Che’Lu-SSC 7-4
5. Zark’s-LPU 7-4
6. Gamboa-St. Clare 6-4 (remaining: vs AMA)
*Go For Gold-CSB 5-6
* - eliminated