PASIG CITY – Hapee is now one win away from bagging back-to-back trophies after the Fresh Fighters frustrated the CafeFrance Bakers, 83-72, in Game One of the 2015 PBA D-League Foundation Cup Finals Thursday (June 18) at the Ynares Sports Arena. Game Two is scheduled for Monday (June 22) at the same venue, with Hapee hoping to follow up its romp in the Aspirants Cup earlier this year.
Opting for a shorter but speedier quintet, Coach Ronnie Magsanoc’s gambit paid off handsomely as they seized the lead for good on consecutive baskets by Mark Romero and Baser Amer with 5:22 in the third period, 45-44. Chris Newsome added more cushion with a triple and the Fresh Fighters displayed good lead management by warding off the Bakers’ repeated threats.
Samboy de Leon provided the Bakers’ final stand, back to back triples that trimmed their deficit to only four markers, 72-76, and 1:06 left in the game. Suddenly, Amer delivered the dagger with his own triple that upped their lead to seven at the 33-second mark, 79-72.
“We will rest for the next 24 hours and then prepare for Game Two,” said Coach Ronnie Magsanoc. “There is still a lot of work to be done.”
Hapee welcomed back national players Amer, Troy Rosario and Earl Scottie Thompson to the line-up after sitting out the semifinals against Cebuana Lhuillier. The trio came off the bench and quickly made their presence felt.
Newsome led all scorers with 18 points, seven rebounds and five assists. Ola Adeogun played only in the first half but still wound up with 12 points and five rebounds.
Jam Cortes paced the Bakers with 15 points, 10 made in the first period, on top of seven rebounds. De Leon and Michael Miranda followed with 11 points each.
CafeFrance shot themselves in the foot with horrific 28 out of 81 shooting from the field. Eliud Poligrates typified the Bakers struggles by going three out of 20, including one out of nine from three-point distance.
“Even if we shot poorly, we also did not defend well today,” rued Coach Edgar Macaraya. “Hapee’s championship experience really showed.”
No championship series has gone the full three-game route since the league opened in 2011. “It’s just a record, miracles can happen,” said Coach Macaraya in parting.
How They Scored:
HAPEE (83) – Newsome 18, Adeogun 12, Amer 11, Rosario 11, Thompson 10, de la Cruz 9, Villahermosa 6, Romero 4, Mendoza 2, Elorde 0, Long 0.
CAFEFRANCE (72) – Cortes 15, de Leon 11, Miranda 11, Poligrates 10, Sedurifa 9, Ahamnisi 7, Ebondo 5, Abundo 2, Andrada 2, Jeruta 0, Batino 0.
Period Scores: 23-22, 38-37, 60-56, 83-72.