By Dugout Phlippines
PASIG--Racal booked its first ever PBA D-League Finals appearance with a pulsating 78-74 Game 3 victory over Cafe France Tuesday in their 2017 PBA D-League Aspirants' Cup semifinals at Ynares Sports Arena.
Jackson Corpuz and Allan Mangahas emerged as the heroes for the Tile Masters as the veteran campaigners came up big in the final 1:29 of the game.
Corpuz nailed a huge three and an and-1 play to give Racal a 75-72 lead with 39.5 seconds left, while Kent Salado found an open Mangahas for the dagger three with 4.3 ticks remaining to finally break the glass ceiling for the perennial semifinalists.
"I just trusted them. Buti na lang, I picked the right people in the endgame," said coach Jerry Codiñera, who steered his side to the Finals in his first conference with the Tile Masters.
Salado topped his side with 16 points, eight assists, and six rebounds, while Mangahas went 5-of-7 from threes to finish with 15 markers.
Rey Nambatac added 11 points, five boards, and three assists, while Sidney Onwubere had 10 markers and seven rebounds in the win.
Racal will meet the victor of the Cignal-Tanduay semifinals series on Thursday at the same venue.
Rod Ebondo led Cafe France with 26 points, 20 rebounds, two blocks, while Paul Desiderio added 16 markers and six boards in the loss.
Racal 78–Salado 16, Mangahas 15, Nambatac 11, Onwubere 10, Corpuz 9, Capacio 5, Dagangon 5, Cabrera 5, Flores 2, Torres 0, Gabawan 0, Terso 0, Gabayni 0
Cafe France 74–Ebondo 26, Desiderio 16, Sedurifa 11, Faundo 8, Calisaan 4, Jeruta 3, Manlangit 3, Casino 2, Arim 1, Wamar 0
Quarterscores: 14-20, 32-34, 51-52, 78-74
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