PASIG CITY – Blowouts marked the start of the 2014-2015 PBA D-League Aspirants Cup Monday (October 27) at the Ynares Sports Arena. Despite the scores, the performances on the floor showed a fresh infusion of talents that could translate into a wide-open race for the championship.
CaféFrance, one of three franchises that have played in all tournaments since the league began in 2011, exploited their vast experience to crumple expansion team MP Hotel in the tournament’s opener, 86-59. With the scored tied at 4-4, the Bakers of Coach Edgar Macaraya went on a dizzying 27-5 run behind the three-point shooting of Maverick Ahanmisi and Rodrigue Ebondo and playmaking of Alvin Abundo for a 31-9 lead at the end of the first that basically settled the outcome early.
The Bakers then unleashed their wide arsenal from both the inside and outside as the Warriors from General Santos City were clearly outmatched. “The first game is always the toughest so I hope we continue to play like this later on when we face the tougher teams,” said Coach Macaraya.
Ahanmisi, a product of the University of Minnesota who was acquired in a pre-tournament trade from Hapee Toothpaste for center Arnold Van Opstal, led the Bakers with 11 points. Abundo also had 11 points as the Bakers submitted a balanced attack with 10 of the 14 players fielded scoring at least five markers.
No Warrior had twin figures. Jumabon Bulac paced the wards of Coach Arvin Bonleon with nine while Wowie Escosio and Russell Yaya added eight apiece.
In the second game, newcomer Racal Motors Alibaba of Coach Jinino Manansala caught Cebuana Lhuillier flatfooted with a flying start anchored on Jeff Alvin Viernes but recovered in time to register the rout, 89-70. Viernes, a transferee from Jumbo Plastic, scored nine points in Racal’s opening run as they led 16-2 en route to holding on after the first period, 21-16.
By then, the Gems of Coach Boycie Zamar were already laying the foundation for their comeback with his son Paul Zamar eventually tying the game with a triple, 26-26. Jam Jamito restored the lead to Racal with a basket but Allan Mangahas launched a triple that ignited a crippling 15-0 Gems run that gave them the lead for good, 41-28.
The younger Zamar then combined with burly Bradwyn Guinto to maintain the Gems’ distance. Their lead ballooned to as high as 22 markers, 76-54, on a basket by Simon Enciso.
Guinto had a monster game with 18 points and 14 rebounds. Mangahas chipped in 14 to go with five assists and three steals.
Marte Gil was the high man for Racal with 15 points, 10 coming in the fourth period. Jamil Ortuoste followed with 12.
In the nightcap, returning Wang’s Basketball completed the tripleheader of laughers by toying with AMA Computer University, 96-78. The team of sports patron Alex Wang took a leave during the recent Foundation Cup after debuting in last year’s Aspirants Cup.
Michael Juico paced Wang’s with 18 points followed by Macky Acosta with 15. Jessmar Sabangan led the Titans with 11 of his 22 points in the fourth period followed by Bobby Balucanag with13 points and 12 rebounds.
Simple opening rites preceded the games as the 12 participating teams paraded with their muses. The other teams entered are Cagayan Valley, Bread Story, MJM M-Builders, Tanduay Light, Jumbo Plastic and pre-tournament favorite Hapee Toothpaste.
How They Scored:
CAFÉFRANCE (86) – Ahanmisi 11, Abundo 11, Cortes 10, Ebondo 10, Jeruta 8, Andrada 8, Sedurifa 7, Galanza 6, Noble 6, Batino 5, Habelito 2, de Leon 2, Huertas 0, Celso 0.
MP HOTEL (59) – Bulac 9, Escosio 8, Yaya 8, Collado 7, Belorio 6, McCarthy 5, Sumido 4, Calo 4, Morillo 4, Allen 2, Hainga 2, Blanco 0, Landicho 0.
Period Scores: 31-9, 48-22, 69-42, 86-59.
CEBUANA LHUILLIER (89) – Guinto 18, A. Mangahas 13, Zamar 13, Vosotros 11, Villahermosa 10, Sison 8, Acibar 4, Ciriacruz 4, J. Mangahas 3, Enciso 2, Arellano 2, Sarangay 1.
RACAL MOTORS (70) – Gil 15, Ortuoste 12, Viernes 11, Asuncion 11, Gabawan 8, Jamito 5, Saitanan 3, Ruaya 3, Ibay 2, Ibarra 0, Publico 0.
Period Scores: 16-21, 44-33, 64-49, 89-70.
WANG’S BASKETBALL (96) – Juico 18, Acosta 15, Acidre 12, Miranda 11, Montuano 10, , Pontejos 8, Mendoza 7, Vijandre 6, Arambulo 3, Lina 3, Rosopa 2, Ferrer 1, Importante 0, Acuna 0.
AMA COMPUTER (78) – Sabangan 22, Balucanag 13, Purdy 12, Camasura 9, Taganas 6, Eriobu 5, Angeles 4, Malones 3, Olivares 3, Diswe1, Santiago 0, Calma 0, Macaranas 0, Jordan 0.
Period Scores: 24-10, 39-26, 73-49, 96-78.