Also-ran Family Mart-Enderun eliminated Ironcon-UST with a huge 81-74 Thursday in the 2019 PBA D-League at JCSGO Gym in Cubao.
Fighting for pride, the Titans weathered a huge fourth quarter attack from the Growling Tigers to end their maiden campaign on a high note and finish with a 2-7 slate.
"They want to prove something and they accepted their roles for the good of the team," said coach Pipo Noundou.
Valandre Chauca carried Family Mart-Enderun with 31 points on 5-of-9 shooting from beyond the arc, alongside five rebounds and two assists, while Marvin Hayes just missed a triple-double with his 18 points, 12 boards, and seven assists.
The Titans jumped on the Growling Tigers, taking a 25-11 first quarter lead and extending it to 19 numerous times in the third frame.
But Ironcon-UST rallied back behind Soulemane Chabi Yo, slicing the deficit to as low as four, 72-68 with 4:57 left.
That was when Family Mart-Enderun went to its starters as it responded with an 8-0 spurt to grab an 80-68 advantage courtesy of a Hayes lay-up with 1:09 remaining.
The Growling Tigers' shock loss sent them out of the playoffs and gifted St. Clare College Virtual Reality the no. 2 seed, which comes with a twice-to-beat advantage, in the Aspirants Group.
Che'Lu Bar and Grill also booked the no. 4 seat in the process.
Chabi Yo's effort of 25 points, 14 rebounds, and three blocks went down the drain as Ironcon-UST bowed out of the tourney.
Mark Nonoy got 18 points, four assists, and three boards as the Growling Tigers finished sixth due to an inferior quotient in the five-way tie.
In the first game, Chadao-FEU booked the last Foundation Group ticket to the 2019 PBA D-League playoffs, outlasting Centro Escolar University, 74-69.
"Our goal is to make it to the playoffs and we achieved that first goal," said coach Olsen Racela.
The Tamaraws leaned on L-Jay Gonzales, who collected 15 points, five rebounds, five assists, and three steals to lead his side to the victory and end the eliminations on a four-game win streak.
Wendell Comboy added 13 points, four boards, two assists, and two steals, while Joseph Nunag got 12 points, three rebounds, and two assists in the win.
Chadao-FEU wound up with a 6-3 card, eliminating Marinerong Pilipino (5-4) in the process.
The Tamaraws now brace for Aspirants Group top seed Cignal-Ateneo (8-1), who owns a twice-to-beat advantage, in the crossover quarters set on Monday.
Chadao-FEU squandered a 69-58 lead within the last five minutes as Judel Fuentes and Maodo Malick Diouf rallied CEU back to knot the score at 69 in the last 2:08.
Branrey Bienes would answer back with a trey, Patrick Tchuente put the nail in the coffin with a putback slam to extend the lead to five.
Fuentes carried CEU (7-2) with 24 points and four rebounds, while Diouf registered a double-double with his 11 points, 11 rebounds, three steals, and two blocks.
The Scorpions still enjoy a twice-to-beat advantage in the quarters, but their opponent still depends on the result of the Valencia City Bukidnon-SSCR versus Diliman College-Gerry's Grill game.
In the final game, Valencia City Bukidnon-SSCR locked up the top seed in the Foundation Group with a 91-80 win over Diliman College-Gerry's Grill.
JM Calma started off hot for the Golden Harvest with his 15 first half points before ending up with 26 points, 10 rebounds, and two blocks.
But with the Blue Dragons threatening to inch closer and getting to within seven, 77-70, in the last 4:33, Valencia-SSCR went to its old reliables as RK Ilagan and Allyn Bulanadi sealed the win late.
Ilagan shot a perfect 10-of-10 from the charity stripe to wind up with 23 points, six rebounds, six assists, and three steals.
Bulanadi did it all to finish with 18 points, six boards, four assists, three steals, and three blocks.
More importantly, the win locked up the Golden Harvest at no. 1 in the group and will head to the crossover quarterfinals with a twice-to-beat advantage against Che'Lu Bar and Grill on Monday.
Kevin Gandjeto pumped 29 points in the losing cause for Diliman-Gerry's (4-5).
Kris Torrado also nabbed a triple-double with his 14 points, 14 assists, and 10 rebounds in the loss, making him the seventh player to achieve the feat in PBA D-League history.