Eloi Poligrates had mixed emotions on the day he received the PBA D-League Foundation Cup Most Valuable Player award.
It was understandable.
Poligrates, who is trying to make it back to the PBA, could did little as Marinerong Pilipino lost to a rejuvenated BRT Sumisip Basilan-St. Clare, 74-60, in Game 2 of the D-League Finals on Wednesday.
The 31-year-old guard, who played for Talk 'N Text, was far from his usual deadly form that has allowed him to average 19.7 points, 3.6 rebounds, 2.9 assists, and 2.0 steals across nine matches, ultimately failing to help the Skippers become the third team to complete a conference sweep.
He finished with a measly two points to go with the same number of rebounds and assists while also turning the ball over six times in nearly 16 minutes of play.
"I'm happy to receive this award. At the same time, I'm sad because we failed to complete a sweep," said Poligrates in Filipino after the lopsided match at the Cuneta Astrodome in Pasay City.
When asked what went wrong for the team, Poligrates didn't mince words and said "we haven't been complete in practice."
"We have new plays for today's game but you can see inside the court that not everyone knows about them," he said. "It's hard because, of the five players inside the court, only four knew the play and the other one was clueless. It was ugly."
The veteran playmaker is asking his teammates to give their undivided attention to the team as the Skippers prepare for the next game on Monday at 3:30 p.m. at the Paco Arena.
"I asked them if they can ask permission from their mother teams in the MPBL so we can be complete in practice and prepare well for Game 3," he said.
Jessie Collado proved to be the difference maker for the Saints, dropping 10 in the Saints' 15-5 start before finishing with 20 points and six rebounds to force the winner-take-all Game 3.
Joshua Fontanilla had 14 points, five rebounds, and three assists, Malian slotman Mohammed Pare registered a double-double of 12 points and 10 boards, and Jhaps Bautista chimed in 11 markers in the win.
"Obviously, mas may energy kami ngayon especially on defense," said coach Stevenson Tiu, as BRT Sumisip-St. Clare forced Marinerong Pilipino to commit 17 turnovers and turned it to 26 easy points.
The Saints led by as many as 24 points, 46-22, after an Alfred Batino basket with 26.6 seconds left in the second period before cruising to the win that snapped the Skippers' 10-game winning streak and denied them a perfect conference.
Byron Villarias was the only double-digit scorer for Marinerong Pilipino with 11 markers.
The usually high-octane Skippers shot a measly 30% from the field, including a 4-of-19 clip from beyond the arc.
BRT SUMISIP BASILAN-ST. CLARE 74 -- Collado 20, Fontanilla 14, Pare 12, Bautista 11, Batino 8, Gabo 4, Palencia 2, Dumapig 2, Hallare 1, Rubio 0, Penaredondo 0, Manacho 0, Tiquia 0.
MARINERONG PILIPINO 60 -- Villarias 11, Clarito 9, Yee 8, Alabanza 8, Santillan 5, Sara 5, Rios 4, Ilagan 4, Poligrates 2, Ayonayon 2, Reverente 2, Diputado 0, Mangahas 0, McAloney 0, Solis 0.
Quarters: 23-11, 46-24, 62-43, 74-60.
With report from PBA Media Group.