PASIG CITY – The long break seemed to have no effect on the CafeFrance Bakers as they displayed the same championship form in disposing of the debuting ZC Mindanao Aguilas, 89-65, to kick start their 2016 PBA D-League Aspirants Cup campaign Monday (January 25) at the Ynares Sports Arena. Rodrigue Ebondo, the hero of the Foundation Cup Finals six months ago, continued to hit the big shots that earned the win.
After allowing Gino Jumao-as to score the opening basket, the Bakers went on a 13-0 tear ignited by a three-point play by Joseph Manlangit to break the game wide open, 13-2. The Aguilas slightly recovered and threatened, 19-23, early in the second behind the eight points of guard Dexter Garcia.
That was the cue for Ebondo to do his work as he unloaded nine unanswered points highlighted by a pair of thundering dunks, 32-19. By halftime, Ebondo already had a double-double of 14 points and 10 rebounds and CafeFrance comfortably ahead, 43-31.
The Aguilas managed to match the Bakers shot for shot in the third canto but they lost steam come the fourth as the Bakers broke away for good. CafeFrance actually outscored the Aguilas in the fourth, 32-20, at times building several leads beyond the 20-point level.
“This is our first game and the players started playing too aggressively resulting in loss of control for a lot of turnovers and poor shot selection,” said Coach Edgar Macaraya. “We hope to fix this by our next game because our opponent Banco de Oro is a good team.”
Ebondo would add a basket and seven more rebounds in the second half to up his total to 16 points and 17 rebounds to go with two blocks and Best Player honors. Manlangit had a solid D-League debut with 13 points and six rebounds.
Garcia tried to carry the Aguilas with 21 points and six rebounds but lacked support from the rest of the team. Mark Sarangay was next with 11 points and five rebounds.
In the second game, Phoenix Petroleum-FEU served notice of its title intentions with a 107-70 whitewashing of Wang’s Basketball. The best that Wang’s could do was tie the count at 2-2 and it was an all-Phoenix show onwards.
Mac Belo scattered 10 points off the bench and reinforcement Ed Daquioag had seven in the opening period as the Accelerators pulled away, 27 -14. Phoenix would then go on to lead by as high as 48 markers in the fourth period, 98-50.
While past entries featuring the FEU varsity did not perform well, Coach Eric Gonzales was quick to remind his players to make the most of their chances. “There is no such thing as rewind here,” he said.
Best Player Belo finished with 22 points, seven rebounds and four assists. Daquioag followed with 20 points, four rebounds and five assists as four other Accelerators notched 10 or more points.
Jonathan Banal paced Wang’s with 17 points, five rebounds and four steals. Gwyne Capacio was next with 12 markers.
The Aspirants Cup continues on Tuesday (January 26) at the same venue with AMA Online Education debuting against opening day winner Caida Tiles at 2:00 PM. The main game pits the other opening day winner QRS JAM Liner-UP versus Tanduay Rhum at 4:00 PM.
How They Scored:
CAFEFRANCE-CEU (89) – Ebondo 16, Manlangit 13, Villahermosa 11, Zamar 10, Jeruta 9, Celso 7, Casino 5, Cruz 5, Arim 5, de Leon 4, Opiso 2, Abundo 2, Guinitaran 0.
ZC MINDANAO (65) – Garcia 21, Sarangay 11, Jumao-as 9, Ignacio 6, Acibar 4, Rivera 3, de Guzman 3, Rublico 3, Nalos 2, Villanueva 2, Navarro 1, Wetherell 0, Julkipli 0, Ongteco 0.
Period Scores: 19-8, 43-31, 57-45, 89-65.
PHOENIX PETROLEUM-FEU (107) – Belo 22, Daquioag 20, Jose 11, Ru. Escoto 10. Inigo 10, Tamsi 10, Pogoy 8, Mendoza 5, Tolomia 5, Lee Yu 2, Elmejrab 2, Ri. Escoto 2.
WANG’S BASKETBALL (70) – Banal 17, Capacio 12, Ilad 11, Munsayac 10, Publico 10, Vijandre 4, Bautista 4, Acosta 2, Namocatcat 0, Jo. Montemayor 0, Je. Montemayor 0, Tumalip 0, Pascual 0, Asuncion 0.
Period Scores: 27-14, 55-30, 79-44, 107-70.