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Skippers secure D-League quarters

Games Tuesday
(Ynares Sports Arena, Pasig City)
3 p.m. – CEU vs Racal Motors
5 p.m. – Flying V vs Batangas

Marinerong Pilipino leaned on its stifling defense right from the get-go and cruised past AMA Online Education, 125-71, yesterday to clinch a quarterfinals berth in the PBA D-League Foundation Cup at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig City.

Former La Salle guard Julian Sargent was active on both ends of the floor and finished with 20 points, seven rebounds, five assists and four steals as the Skippers completed their impressive windup following a 1-4 start to become the fourth team to make the playoffs.

Sargent played the starring role in Marinerong Pilipino’s onslaught that forced AMA to 36 turnovers, much to the delight of its white-clad supporters who braved the inclement weather.

“We just want to break (AMA’s) confidence right off the bat, and I’m thankful that the players responded to the challenge,” said Marinerong Pilipino coach Koy Banal, whose team scored 57 points off those turnovers.

Donald Gumaru had 18 points, five steals and three assists while ex-pro Mark Isip made all of his 15 points in the first half for Marinerong Pilipino.

The Skippers made the playoffs by winning their final five games, finishing the elims with a 6-4 record. They’ll likely to face the No. 3-ranked Tanduay Rhum Masters in the quarters, the latter holding a twice-to-beat advantage.

But that would depend on the outcomes of the remaining games of Batangas, which carries a 5-3 record, and 5-4 Centro Escolar University.

Batangas was playing Gamboa Coffee Mix at presstime and is slated to face unbeaten Flying V on Tuesday, while CEU needs to beat Racal Motors, also on Tuesday, to make the quarters.

Daniel Salonga finished with 14 points for AMA, which ended its campaign with a 1-9 record.