QUEZON CITY – Defending champion CafeFrance-CEU claimed a share of the early leadership of the 2016 PBA D-League Foundation Cup with a tough win over a gritty Racal Tiles, 83-79, Thursday night (June 9) at the Jesus Christ Saves Global Outreach Gym. The Bakers rose to 2-0, the same record as Phoenix Petroleum which beat the Topstar ZC Mindanao Aguilas in the day’s earlier game, 108-78.
Jumping out of the gates with a 20-1 opening salvo, the Bakers were well in control of the game as starters Rodrigue Ebondo, Carl Bryan Cruz and JK Casino easily found the hoop. Halftime was pegged at 38-27.
Suddenly, the Tile Masters began to light up the scoreboard through the combined efforts of Philip Paniamogan, Raphael Banal and Jonathan Grey to make the contest exciting and come to within a point several times, the last coming via a Paniamogan triple with 44 ticks remaining, 79-80. However, Aaron Jeruta hit a crucial basket at the 26-second mark followed by a free throw split from Alvin Abundo off a Paniamogan foul with 11 seconds left to seal the deal.
“Racal is a good team when it comes to offense, luckily we were able to get a good start and build from there,” said Coach Edgar Macaraya. “Again, the team showed character because many of our players got into foul trouble.”
The game took quite some time finish as the referees assessed a total of 84 fouls on both teams. The Bakers bucked the early disqualification of big men Ebondo, Cruz and Michael Parala, ending the game by playing with a very small unit.
Ebondo still managed to lead the Bakers with 15 points, including a pair of triples, on top of six rebounds. Jeruta was big down the stretch with 12 points while Paul Zamar chipped in 10.
Paniamogan led all scorers with 24 points on four triples but it was not enough to carry them to the victory. Banal was next with 13 followed by Grey with 10.
How They Scored:
CAFEFRANCE-CEU (83) – Ebondo 15, Jeruta 12, Zamar 10, Parala 9, Villahermosa 8, Opiso 8, Abundo 6, Cruz 6, Casino 5, Manlangit 4, de Leon 0.
RACAL TILES (79) – Paniamogan 24, Banal 13, Grey 10, Maiquez 7, Celiz 5, Robles 5, Gabawan 4, Javier 4, Ortuoste 3, Terso 3, Ruaya 1, Corpuz 0, McCarthy 0.
Period Scores: 27-14, 38-27, 60-51, 83-79.