PASIG CITY – CafeFrance-CEU flexed its might in devastating QRS JAM Liner-UP, 94-73, in a battle of erstwhile undefeated squads at the 2016 PBA D-League Aspirants Cup Thursday (February 4) at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig City. The Bakers moved into a tie with idle Caida Tiles at the top of the standings with a 3-0 win-loss record.
Samboy de Leon opened hostilities with a triple and CafeFrance went on to score the game’s first 11 points. That was enough cushion, as the Maroons never recovered nor threatened.
De Leon, Paul Zamar, Rodrigue Ebondo and Alvin Abundo took turns and pummelling the opposition with Zamar hitting a triple for their biggest lead at the three-minute mark of the third period, 74-47. Scrub time set in early but Carl Bryan Cruz and Ebondo put in the key baskets to prevent the Maroons from trimming the margin any further.
“Credit to the players for playing well as our strategy was to control their big men while denying their point guards,” explained Coach Edgar Macaraya. “Their shooters were forced to bring the ball thus lessening their chances to score.”
Cruz paced the Bakers with 15 points, six points coming in the fourth, and seven rebounds. De Leon dropped eight of his 14 points in the first period while Ebondo had a double-double of 14 points and 12 rebounds.
Raymond Aguilar led the Maroons with 14 points, seven made in the fourth period, on top of 12 rebounds. Kevin Ferrer and Juneric Baloria chipped in 13 and 12 points respectively.
In the first game, Tanduay Rhum notched its first win after two losses by thumping the ZC Mindanao Aguilas, 95-56. The Rhum Masters broke out of a four-way logjam at the bottom of the table while the still winless Aguilas now find themselves all alone at the bottom.
Dexter Garcia gave the Aguilas their last taste of the lead via a triple, 12-11. From there, the Rhum Masters countered with a 20-4 blitz to close out the first period in their favor, 31-16.
The Rhum Masters were unrelenting, stretching their lead by halftime, 53-30. However, the knockout blow came quite early as the Tanduay defense limited the Aguilas to a measly four points in the pivotal third canto and making the outcome a foregone conclusion, 75-34.
Ironically, it was Tanduay’s Mindanao-bred players that helped delivered the victory with Rudy Lingganay and Lucas Tagarda tallying 12 markers each. Jaypee Belencion set the tone with 13 of his 18 points in the first period along with the 14 points and seven rebounds from Adrian Santos.
“We looked at our first two losses as our motivation today,” said Coach Lawrence Chongson. “It has been psychologically tough on the players but I am glad we got the breakthrough win.”
Dexter Garcia and JR Ongteco were the high men for the Aguilas with 11 markers each. No other Aguila hit twin digits.
QRS JAM Liner will try to recover from their harrowing defeat when they play undefeated Phoenix Petroleum-FEU next Tuesday (February 9) at the San Juan Arena starting at 2:00 PM. The main attraction will have AMA Online Education locking horns with Banco de Oro-NU at the 4:00 PM.
How They Scored:
TANDUAY RHUM (95) – Belencion 18, Santos 14, Tagarda 12, Lingganay 12, Eriobu 8, Gotladera 7, Javillonar 6, Wetherell 4, Koga 4, Celda 4, Cenal 2, Lo 2, Llagas 2, Pessumal 0.
ZC MINDANAO (56) – Ongteco 11, Garcia 11, Sarangay 6, Acibar 6, Ignacio 5, Villanueva 5, Jumao-as 5, Ferrer 3, Rivera 2, Nalos 2, Wetherell 0, Navarro 0, Rublico 0.
Period Scores: 31-17, 53-20, 75-34, 95-56.
CAFEFRANCE-CEU (94) – Cruz 15, de Leon 14, Ebondo 14, Zamar 11, Abundo 10, Villahermosa 6, Opiso 6, Jeruta 5, Manlangit 5, Celso 4, Casino 2, Arim 2, Anunciacion 0.
QRS JAM LINER-UP (73) – Aguilar 14, Ferrer 13, Baloria 12, Alolino 7, Batino 6, Soyud 5, Moralde 5, Dario 4, Neypes 3, Asilum 2, Desiderio 2, Vito 0, Sorela 0.
Period Scores: 29-12, 51-35, 80-57, 94-73.