PASIG CITY – CafeFrance-CEU earned a share of the leadership of the 2016 PBA D-League Aspirants Cup after destroying Banco de Oro-NU, 110-64, in continuing action Thursday (January 28) at the Ynares Sports Arena. The Bakers thus moved into a three-way tie with idle QRS JAM Liner-UP and Caida Tiles at 2-0.
Later in the day, Wang’s Basketball hacked out a thrilling 97-88 decision over the ZC Mindanao Aguilas and barge into the win column. The rookie team Aguilas remained winless in two starts.
The expected showdown between Rodrigue Ebondo and Alfred Aroga did not materialize after the latter was suddenly unavailable due to academic commitments. Without Aroga, Ebondo flourished on both ends of the court but BDO was able to hang on and keep the score deadlocked after one period, 21-21.
By the second period, CafeFrance’s manpower advantage became evident. Ebondo and Carl Bryan Cruz pounded the inside and Aaron Jeruta hit a pair of triples to push the Bakers comfortably on top by halftime, 48-33.
It was smooth sailing from there on as BDO suddenly folded. Coach Edgar Macaraya was quick to downplay their achievement by saying “we were not tested today because Aroga was not there, the true test might come in our next game against QRS JAM Liner.”
Paul Zamar came off the bench to pump in 22 points to go with three assists and two steals and the nod as Best Player of the Game. Ebondo ended up with 19 points, six rebounds and three blocks.
Matt Salem paced BDO with a double-double of 17 points and 10 rebounds. J-Jay Alejandro was the only other Bulldog in twin digits with 15 points.
Given up for lost after lagging behind by as much as 17 markers midway in the final period of regulation, 59-76, Wang’s staged a mighty rally ignited by a Tata Bautista triple and sustained by timely baskets from Francis Munsayac and capped by free throws from Gwyne Capacio to give them their first lead of the contest at the 36-second mark, 79-77. However, Ken Acibar managed to deadlock the count with 25 ticks remaining and set the stage for the extension.
That was the cue for Capacio to go on overdrive and pepper the Aguilas with nine points while new recruit James Mangahas added five more as the Aguilas suddenly went flat. Free throws from Munsayac and Mangahas sealed the deal.
“I cite the players for obeying our instructions to play intense defense and rotate the ball on offense,” said Coach Pablo Lucas. “This win eases the pain from our loss against Phoenix last Monday.”
Capacio earned Best Player honors with a team-best 23 points and five rebounds. Mangahas had a splendid debut with 18 points and 11 rebounds.
Dexter Garcia paced the Aguilas with 23 points, 11 coming in the third period as they looked to turn the game into a blowout. Acibar was next with 18 points and nine rebounds.
PBA D-League games will move to the San Juan Arena on February 2 (Tuesday). Phoenix Petroleum meets AMA Online Education at 2:00 PM followed Caida Tiles against the now inspired Wang’s at 4:00 PM.
How They Scored:
CAFEFRANCE-CEU (110) – Zamar 22, Ebondo 19, Cruz 15, Casino 12, Jeruta 11, de Leon 7, Villahermosa 6, Manlangit 6, Arim 5, Guinitaran 3, Opiso 2, Abundo 2, Celso 0.
BANCO DE ORO-NU (86) – Salem 17, Alejandro 15, Labing-isa 9, Javelona 9, Tansingco 8, Salim 7, Perez 7, Diputado 6, Rono 6, Yu 2.
Period Scores: 21-21, 48-33, 82-54, 110-86.
WANG’S BASKETBALL (97) – Capacio 23, Mangahas 18, Munsayac 17, Bautista 16, Vijandre 6, Ilad 5, Banal 4, Je. Montemayor 4, Jo. Montemayor 2, Cueto 2, Tumalip 0.
ZC MINDANAO (88) – Garcia 23, Acibar 18, Jumao-as 15, Sarangay 11, Julkipli 5, Rivera 5, Ignacio 4, Ongteco 3, Villanueva 2, Rublico 2, Wetherell 0, Nalos 0, de Guzman 0.
Period Scores: 10-22, 29-39, 50-62, 79-79 (reg.), 97-88 (OT).