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PBA DL: Phoenix champ!

Tolomia, Belo, Jose hold fort against Tanduay.

Biñan, Laguna – A strong start sparked by a returning player was enough to complete the Phoenix Accelerators’ march to PBA D-League history.

Raymar Jose made his only appearance of the conference count as the Accelerators held off the late rally of the Tanduay Rhum Masters, 87-78, to capture the PBA D-League Foundation Cup title last night at the Alonte Sports Arena here.

The Far Eastern University skipper did not only produce nine points and five rebounds, but also provided energy on both ends in his 17-minute appearance to help make Phoenix become the second team in the five-history of the league to win back-to-back championships.

Phoenix Coach Eric Gonzales said their decision to rehire Jose, who was given the go-signal by FEU management on the eve of the deciding game of the best-of-three series, paid dividends.

“Big factor siya,” said Phoenix coach Eric Gonzales, who started Jose alongside his former FEU teammates Mike Tolomia, Mac Belo, Roger Pogoy, and Russell Escoto. “Solid FEU five talaga ang ginawa naming starters para maganda ang start and we’re glad na nag-work.”

The 6-foot-4 southpaw, whose hustle plays and pick and roll combination with Mike Tolomia sparked a first half surge, was forced to play for Phoenix for the first time since ruling the Aspirants Cup last April when backup big man Alfred Batino was not available.

PHOENIX 87 – Tolomia 21, Belo 14, Daquioag 10, Escoto 9, Jose 9, Andrada 6, Mendoza 6, Iñigo 5, Pogoy 4, Tamsi 3, Colina 0.

TANDUAY 78 – Eguilos 16, Celda 14, Acuna 13, Alolino 13, Lingganay 10, Ferrer 7, Belencion 3, Gotladera 2, Javillonar 0, Mendoza 0, Santos 0, Tagarda 0.

Quarters: 32-17, 48-34, 65-56, 87-78. (JONAS TERRADO)