MARIKINA CITY – Entering the game with loads of pressure on their backs, Bread Story-Lyceum worked hard till the last second to stop Racal Motors Alibaba, 93-90, and claim the final quarterfinal spot in the 2014-2015 PBA D-League Aspirants Cup at the Marikina Sports Center Monday afternoon (January 26). Needing nothing less than a win, Bread Story thus tied the idle Tanduay Light Rhum Masters at 5-6 but got the tiebreaker because of their 69-64 victory last November 13.
The rookie team will now meet the third seed CaféFrance Bakers (9-2) in the quarterfinals this Tuesday at the Ynares Sports Arena starting at 2:00 PM. The Bakers hold the twice to beat advantage and aim to advance to the semifinals for the first time in franchise history.
Wilson Baltazar tied the score at 90-90 with a booming triple with 36 left in the contest. After a Racal timeout, Ford Ruaya committed a five-second inbound violation and Bread Story capitalized in the ensuing possession as Aziz Mbomiko nailed a jumper from top of the key at the 17-second mark to grab back the lead, 92-90.
Racal Motors had a chance to salvage the win but Jeff Alvin Viernes missed a side triple leading to a pair of tip-in attempts until Jackson Corpuz collared the defensive rebound and was quickly fouled by Viernes with 1.5 ticks remaining. Corpuz then converted a free throw, his only points of the day, to seal the win.
“This was a learning situation for the team regarding how to handle pressure,” said Coach Bonnie Tan. “We are the youngest team in the league that’s why we really need to work on gaining more experience.”
For a while, it looked like Racal Motors was headed to playing the role of spoiler as they effectively controlled the first half behind Viernes, Jamil Gabawan and Michael DiGregorio, 44-39. Bread Story then banked on the big plays of Jiovani Jalalon, Ed Daquioag, Louie Vigil and the returning Joseph Gabayni to seize the upper hand entering the final canto, 69-68.
Jalalon topped Bread Story with 20 points, nine rebounds, five assists and three steals. Gabayni, who missed the last two outings due to an ankle injury, knocked in 14 points and hauled 15 rebounds.
Viernes engaged Jalalon in a scoring duel with 23 points, 10 coming in the final period, on top of four rebounds and five assists. Mark Romero followed with 13 markers plus six rebounds off the bench.
In the other game, the Cagayan Valley Rising Suns completed an 11-game clean sweep of the elimination round by destroying Wang’s Basketball, 104-66. The top seed Rising Suns and second seed Hapee Fresh Fighters (10-1) now awaits for their semifinal opponents from the quarterfinal survivors.
Starting with their usual second stringers, the Rising Suns allowed Wang’s to deadlock the contest at 7-7. Jason Melano then powered a 12-2 run to end the first period, 19-9, and Wang’s never recovered.
Coach Alvin Pua opted to give lesser minutes to his key players as they nursed various injuries and ailments. Wang’s lost for the eighth straight time and fell to 2-9 for solo 11th place in the 12-team tournament.
Melano scored 12 of his game-high 23 points in the first period on top of nine rebounds and four assists. Abel Galliguez came off the bench to hit two triples as part of his 12 points.
Mark Montuano paced Wang’s with 14 points. Ervic Vijandre was activated after a four-game absence and scored in twin digits for the first time in the tournament with 10 points.
The other quarterfinal pairing involves the fourth seed Jumbo Plastic Linoleum Giants and the fifth seed Cebuana Lhuillier Gems. They will begin their series also this Thursday (January 29) at the Ynares Sports Arena starting at 4:00 PM with the Giants holding the twice to beat advantage.
How They Scored:
BREAD STORY (93) – Jalalon 20, Gabayni 14, Vigil 12, Zamora 9, Mbomiko 8, Bangga 6, Baltazar 5, Daquiaog 5, Gamboa 4, Bulawan 4, Taladua 3, Lao 2, Corpuz 1, Elmejrab 0.
RACAL MOTORS (90) – Viernes 23, Romero 13, Agovida 12, DiGregorio 11, Jamito 11, Gabawan 7, Asuncion 4, Ruaya 4, Ambulodto 2, Saitanan 2, Ibay 1, Gil 0.
Period Scores: 22-21, 39-44, 69-68, 93-90.
CAGAYAN VALLEY (104) – Melano 23, Galliguez 12, Trollano 11, Dilay 9, Mabulac 9, Tautuaa 8, Olayon 6, Celada 6, Capacio 6, Austria 5, Santos 4, Tayongtong 3, Flores 2.
WANG’S BASKETBALL (66) – Montuano 14, Vijandre 10, Purdy 9, Acosta 8, Montemayor 7, Morillo 6, Ferrer 4, Lina 3, Pontejos 2, Arambulo 2, Acuna 1, Morales 0.
Period Scores: 16-9, 45-30, 73-49, 104-66.