PASIG CITY – Roger Pogoy hit an insane triple off a broken play from 27 feet with two seconds left to lift Phoenix Petroleum-FEU over CafeFrance-CEU, 85-84, and take a commanding 2-1 lead in the best-of-five championship series for the 2016 PBA D-League Aspirants Cup Thursday (April 7) at the Ynares Sports Arena. The Accelerators can wrap up the series with a win in Game Four scheduled for next Tuesday (April 12) at the San Juan Arena at 3:00 PM.
With the Bakers nursing an 84-82 advantage with 19 seconds to go, the usually steady Carl Bryan Cruz missed two free throws with Phoenix collaring the defensive rebound and calling a quick timeout. As live action resumed, Rodrigue Ebondo nearly saved the day by swatting away consecutive drives to the hoop by Mike Tolomia and Ed Daquioag, only to see the ball land on the waiting hands of Pogoy who knocked in the game-winner.
“It’s God’s will,” said a very ecstatic but tired Pogoy, who missed all his six three-point attempts and made only three of his 20 field goal attempts prior to his heroics. The same sentiment was echoed by Coach Eric Gonzales who added, “We will try to end it in Game Four because we don’t want to take any chances, CafeFrance is a very good team.”
It was a bitter loss for CafeFrance which was well in control of the game since the second period. The Bakers would build a lead that stretched to as much as 12 markers in the third period, 58-46.
CafeFrance was all set to sew up the win as Paul Zamar scored and Samboy de Leon drained a triple for an 80-71 lead with four minutes left on the clock. Suddenly, the Bakers’ offense went sour as Phoenix turned to Daquioag, Richard Escoto and Mike Tolomia to close the gap.
Mac Belo led the Accelerators’ charge with 22 points and seven rebounds. Daquioag backed him up with 20 points and six rebounds.
The Bakers committed 19 turnovers against only 10 for the Accelerators. Ebondo already notched a double-double by halftime and finished with 18 points, 18 rebounds and four blocks followed by Zamar with 12 points.
“Breaks of the game, that’s all I can say,” said Coach Edgar Macaraya. “My players will not give up and hopefully we will win Game Four so we can all enjoy watching Game Five.”
How They Scored:
PHOENIX PETROLEUM-FEU (85) – Belo 22, Daquioag 20, Inigo 15, Pogoy 10, Tolomia 8, Andrada 5, Ri. Escoto 5, Mendoza 0, Ru. Escoto 0, Tamsi 0.
CAFEFRANCE-CEU (84) – Ebondo 18, Zamar 12, de Leon 11, Villahermosa 10, Cruz 9, Casino 7, Jeruta 6, Manlangit 5, Celso 4, Abundo 2, Opiso 0.
Period Scores: 18-17, 35-37, 61-68, 85-84.