MANILA, Aug.10— It boiled down to some lucky breaks, and Flying V remains unscathed in the PBA D-League Foundation Cup.
The Thunder hacked out a 65-61 win over the CEU Scorpions in Game 1 of their best-of-three semifinals that almost slipped away from them at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig on Thursday.
Flying V almost blew a nine-point lead, but CEU failed to close out the match as huge blunders cost the latter the huge upset.
Trailing 61-63, the Scorpions got a huge chance of even stealing the game from the Thunder as Thomas Torres was slapped with a Flagrant Foul Penalty 1 on Orlan Wamar with 21 seconds left.
Wamar, however, missed both his free throws, and Rod Ebondo was whistled for an offensive foul in the ensuing play.
“I think pagdating sa mga ganoong situations, you really have to assert yourself defensively. And I think this game really boiled down to the stops. We were able to make the crucial stops, lalo na yung kay Gab [Banal] on Ebondo,” said Coach Eric Altamirano on the huge defensive gem.
Jerick Cañada finally sealed the win for Flying V with two freebies with 3.6 seconds left. Jeron Teng achieved a double-double with 17 points and 13 rebounds for the Thunder, who are now 11-0 in the conference.
Hea actually came close to a triple-double as he also tallied seven assists. Banal and Eric Salamat each chipped in 12 markers. Ebondo tallied 27 caroms, just two shy of the league record set by Jay-R Taganas in 2015, along with 20 points for the Scorpions.
Flying V can clinch the series on Tuesday night at the said venue.
Flying V 65 – Teng 17, Banal 12, Salamat 12, Torres 6, Austria 5, Dionisio 4, Thiele 3, Cañada 2, Paredes 2, Tampus 2, Koga 0
CEU 61 – Ebondo 20, Aquino 17, Wamar 9, Cruz 8, Jeruta 6, Casiño 1, Fuentes 0, Guinitaran 0, Intic 0 Quarterscores: 14-13, 31-32, 54-46, 65-61