PASIG CITY – CaféFrance banked on the volcanic scoring of Joseph Sedurifa to win bragging rights over business rival Bread Story-Lyceum, 88-74, and return to the winning track of the PBA D-League Aspirants Cup at the Ynares Sports Arena last Thursday (December 18). More importantly, the Bakers of Coach Edgar Macaraya further cemented their grip on Third Place with an improved 6-2 win-loss card.
Tied at 62-62 at the start of the fourth period, Sedurifa quickly went to work by sinking three free throws followed by a rare four-point play by Rodrigue Ebondo to set the tone for the Bakers’ breakaway. Sedurifa would later add two more triples, the latter giving his side an unassailable 86-72 edge with still 1:45 to play.
“Joseph is really one of the best defensive guards in the league and his scoring is a big bonus,” observed Coach Macaraya who recruited the 6’1” Cebuano. “The team really wanted to have a merry Christmas so they played well today.”
Sedurifa, the 2013 NAASCU Most Valuable Player, shot an incredible 32 points to go with 12 rebounds and a steal in 27 minutes of play. Ebondo followed with 13 points, eight rebounds and three blocks.
CaféFrance looked to turn the game into a blowout early as they easily took the first canto, 30-16. By then, Sedurifa by himself outscored the entire Bread Story squad with 17 markers.
The 32 points of Sedurifa bettered the 31-point effort of teammate Maverick Ahanmisi in their 82-73 romp over MJM M-Builders last December 11. In their last outing three days ago, the Bakers bowed to the still undefeated Hapee Fresh Fighters, 55-70.
Bread Story valiantly fought back but their campaign hit a roadblock as ace guard Jiovani Jalalon was ejected with 28 ticks to go before halftime due to a flagrant foul on Aaron Jeruta. The arrival at the break of Coach Bonnie Tan from a family gathering to mark the 40th day of his father’s passing away further fired up the team as Joseph Gabayni, Mike Gamboa and Aziz Mbomiko led the rally capped by back-to-back baskets by Louie Vigil to tie the score after three periods.
Gabayni paced Bread Story with 19 points, six rebounds and four steals but was held scoreless in the fourth period. Gamboa was next with 16 points and four assists as they fell to 2-5.
In the curtain-raiser, the Tanduay Light Rhum Masters roared to their third straight win by halting the rusty Racal Motors Alibaba, 70-57, and enhanced their playoff chances with an even 4-4 card. Playing in only his second game this conference, forward Aljon Mariano scattered 12 points in the opening period to push Tanduay Light ahead, 20-6.
The opening salvo was sufficient for the Rhum Masters of Coach Lawrence Chongson. Jam Jamito led a 12-0 Racal run early in the second period to threaten, 18-25, but that was the best they could muster as Tanduay Light held on by halftime, 34-23.
Mariano resumed his scoring spree in the third by uncorking seven consecutive points and found good support from Adrian Santos to up their lead, 57-34. Two free throws by JP Belencion to open the fourth period scoring gave Tanduay Light its biggest lead, 59-34.
“I told my players that they have to win or else there will be no Christmas,” said Coach Chongson. “We still have a chance to go up in the standings so why not grab the chance.”
Despite being rested by Coach Chongson in the fourth period, Mariano finished with a team-high 21 points on top of six rebounds in 22 minutes. Santos and Gab Banal supported him with 11 markers each with Santos plucking 11 rebounds for a double-double.
Reyes made 13 of his 22 total points in the fourth period while Jamito had another double-double with 16 points and 14 rebounds. Racal Motors entered the game coming off a 17-day break since their 77-66 triumph over Jumbo Plastic last December 1.
How They Scored:
TANDUAY LIGHT (70) – Mariano 21, Santos 11, Banal 11, Belencion 10, Rono 5, Escueta 4, de Vera 3, Ilagan 2, Foronda 2, Mandani 1, Ignacio 0, Sumang 0, Tagarda 0.
RACAL MOTORS (57) – Reyes 22, Jamito 16, Ortuoste 4, Gil 3, Ruaya 3, Ibay 2, DiGregorio 2, Ambulodto 2, Viernes 2, Gabawan 1, Mercader 0, Saitanan 0, Publico 0, Canta 0.
Period Scores: 20-6, 34-23, 57-34, 70-57.
CAFÉFRANCE (88) – Sedurifa 32, Ebondo 13, Ahanmisi 12, Abundo 9, Batino 6, Galanza 5, Cortes 4, de Leon 3, Jeruta 2, Andrada 2, Huertas 0, Celso 0, Noble 0.
BREAD STORY (74) – Gabayni 19, Gamboa 16, Baltazar 14, Mbomiko 9, Bulawan 5, Vigil 5, Daquioag 4, Jalalon 2, Corpuz 0, Lao 0, Zamora 0, Elmejrab 0.
Period Scores: 30-16, 46-37, 62-62, 88-74.