CafeFrance Alone At The Top

2016 Aspirants Cup     PASIG CITY – CafeFrance-CEU assumed the solo leadership of the 2016 PBA D-League Aspirants Cup by escaping Caida Tiles, 90-87, Thursday (February 11) at the Ynares Sports Arena. The Bakers slowly rallied from as much as 24 points down in the second period, 28-52, to hack out their fourth win in as many outings.

A scolding from Coach Edgar Macaraya during their halftime powwow woke up the lethargic Bakers. A third period explosion from Rodrigue Ebondo, Paul Zamar and Carl Bryan Cruz effectively erased their deficit and deadlock the count entering the final period, 67-67.

Cruz then hit a triple followed by back to back shots from Zamar and Aaron Jeruta to give the lead to CafeFrance for good, 74-71. Good lead management did the trick for the Bakers as they repelled a late run by the Tile Masters.

Ahead by three markers, Zamar hoped to ice the game with a drive but it missed with Jalalon grabbing the defensive rebound and suing for time with 14 ticks to go. New signee Philip Paniamogan had a chance to force an extension but his two triple attempts bounced off the rim as the buzzer sounded.

“I am glad that despite having a lot of new players, we are able to win games through our defense,” said Coach Edgar Macaraya. “Zamar showed that he can play in the next level while Cruz’ three-point shooting really fits our style of play.”

True enough, Cruz was a perfect four of four from three-point distance to lead the Bakers with 26 points, 12 coming in the fourth period. Zamar was next with 25 point followed by Ebondo with 18 points and 14 rebounds.

It was a tough loss for Caida who absorbed their first loss after three wins. Paniamogan topped Caida with 15 points but went scoreless in the fourth period followed by Rey Nambatac with 13 points on top of nine rebounds and seven assists.

In the first game, Tanduay Rhum scored its second win in a row by whipping Wang’s Basketball, 90-75. The Rhum Masters levelled their record to 2-2 for a share of Fourth Place with idle QRS JAM Liner-UP.

“This win is a product of our daily hard work and we really want to make up for our first two losses,” said Coach Lawrence Chongson. “We worked on developing the players’ basketball IQ.”

The results showed as the Rhum Masters had a ready antidote for every attempt by Wang’s to close the gap. Rudy Lingganay and Reden Celda played the role of firemen to the hilt, snuffing Wang’s fourth period rallies with timely baskets.

In the end Wang’s imploded and Tanduay went on a 10-0 tear in the final two minutes to close out the contest that they effectively controlled since midway in the first period. Lingganay and Adrian Santos paced the Rhum Masters with 16 points apiece.

Clark Bautista and new recruit Mark Romero, formerly of AMA Online Education, led Wang’s with 13 points each. Wang’s played without leading scorer Gwyne Capacio who was sidelined with a suspected case of dengue fever.

Games on Monday (February 15) will be at the San Juan Arena. The ZC Mindanao Aguilas face QRS JAM Liner-UP at 2:00 PM while Caida tries to recover against undefeated Phoenix Petroleum at 4:00 PM.

How They Scored:

First Game

TANDUAY RHUM (90) – Santos 16, Lingganay 16, Celda 14, Pessumal 12, Llagas 9, Belencion 7, Wetherell 6, Javillonar 5, Gotladera 3, Tagarda 2, Koga 0, Cenal 0.

WANG’S BASKETBALL (75) ­– Romero 13, Bautista 13, Mangahas 10, Banal 9, Jo. Montemayor 8, Publico 6, Acosta 5, Cueto 5, Je. Montemayor 4, Munsayac 2, Ilad 0, Tumalip 0, Vijandre 0.

Period Scores: 23-19, 41-33, 64-52, 90-75.

Second Game

CAFEFRANCE-CEU (90) – Cruz 26, Zamar 25, Ebondo 18, Jeruta 9, de Leon 8, Villahermosa 3, Manlangit 1, Opiso 0, Celso 0, Casino 0, Abundo 0, Arim 0.

CAIDA TILES (87) – Paniamogan 15, Nambatac 13, Perkins 12, Cabrera 11, Jalalon 9, Lozada 7, Grey 6, Javier 6, Gabawan 2, Maiquez 2, Robles 2, Corpuz 2, Terso 0.

Period Scores: 24-23, 40-56, 67-67, 90-87.

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About Anthony E. Servinio

A long-time television sportscaster, magazine writer, photographer and college professor from the Philippines finally gives blogging a try after more than a decade of on-line presence. Read on folks!
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