Phoenix stays in the hunt for top 2; James Martinez fires record 58 pts

Phoenix stayed alive in the race for the top two, sending Blustar Detergent home with a 108-83 beatdown Tuesday in the 2016 PBA D-League Foundation Cup at JCSGO Gym in Cubao.

Mac Belo topped for the Accelerators with 23 points and five rebounds, while Ed Daquioag chimed in 17 markers, four boards, and three assists.

Alfrancis Tamsi also got 14 points, Mike Tolomia added 12 markers, six rebounds, and four dimes, and Russel Escoto also had 12 in the win.

“I look at it and keep on emphasizing that we have to play it like a championship game even right now. Di kami pwedeng matamlay so we have to build on our game,” said coach Eric Gonzales. “Di naman ako nagda-doubt sa kanila and I’m confident that they can bounce back.”

Phoenix has to beat rival Cafe France on Thursday to stay in the hunt for the top two spots in the semifinals, which comes with a twice-to-beat advantage.

“I told them that whether we win or lose, we’re already in semis. The important thing is how we play the game. We want to win and from there, we build on it,” said Gonzales.

The Accelerators started the game with an 11-2 start and continued to pound on Blustar, holding a lead as big as 31, 91-60 midway in the payoff period.

Juami Tiongson anchored the Dragons with 26 points, six assists, and four rebounds, while Ivan Yeo had 21 markers as Blustar Detergent wrapped up its D-League campaign with a 2-10 card.

In the first game, James Martinez had a record night to lift AMA Online Education to a 125-76 rout of Topstar ZC Mindanao.

The former UE standout had his guns ablaze, shooting 10-of-25 from beyond the arc to rewrite the PBA D-League scoring record with his 58 points, erasing Mac Belo’s 41-point outing in the 2016 Aspirants’ Cup against Caida.

“Hinabol lang namin yung record ng D-League with James,” said coach Mark Herrera.

Martinez ignited the pullaway, pouring 13 in the second period to erect a 49-40 halftime lead, following it up with 13 points in the third before catching fire with 31 markers in the payoff period.

Herrera says that every win is enough of a silver lining for AMA, which has already been eliminated in the Final Four race despite its 4-6 record.

“Yung win din kasi ang hinahanap namin. Kung makadagdag sa record namin, bakit hindi,” he said.

Jay-R Taganas also chipped 13 markers, 27 rebounds, and seven assists, while John Montemayor recorded a double-double with 10 points and 11 boards in the win.

Gino Jumao-as led Topstar ZC Mindanao (0-11) with 19 points, while JR Cawaling got 16 in the defeat.

The Scores:

First Game:
AMA 125 – Martinez 58, Taganas 13, Jo. Montemayor 10, Jordan 9, Macaranas 9, Asuncion 8, McCarthy 7, Bragais 4, Calma 4, Ortega 3, Arambulo 0, Belleza 0, Carpio 0.
TOPSTAR ZC MINDANAO 76 – Jumao-as 19, Cawaling 16, Garcia 12, Ongteco 7, Argamino 6, Tano 6, Julkipli 5, Rivera 3, Dadjilul 2.
Quarters: 19-19, 49-40, 81-64, 125-76.

Second Game:
PHOENIX 108 – Belo 23, Daquioag 17, Tamsi 14, Escoto 12, Tolomia 12, Inigo 10, Jamito 8, Mendoza 6, Pogoy 4, Andrada 1, Knuttel 1, Batino 0, Colina 0.
BLUSTAR DETERGENT 83 – Tiongson 26, Yeo 21, Kuek 11, Gan 8, Yim 5, Choo 4, Ong 4, Mak 2, Palma 2, Liaw 0, Ma 0, Teo 0, Ting 0.
Quarters: 24-10, 50-38, 79-58, 108-83.