PASIG CITY – Defending champion CafeFrance-CEU averted a monumental meltdown with timely hits to ward off AMA Online Education, 92-86, at the 2016 PBA D-League Foundation Cup at the Ynares Sports Arena Tuesday afternoon (June 21). After suffering their first loss last week, the Bakers vented their ire on the winless Titans and led by as much as 18 markers in the third period, 57-39.
Suddenly, AMA came roaring back behind Ryan Arambulo and returnee Rashawn McCarthy to cut the deficit to a mere nine markers, 65-74, early in the fourth period. A barrage of triples from Aaron Jeruta, Rodrigue Ebondo and Mar Villahermosa saved the day for CafeFrance as it restored a more comfortable margin with less than five minutes to play, 86-73.
“I’m still looking for the energy and effort from the players and we had a bad endgame,” said Coach Edgar Macaraya. “They think they can get into the championship without working just because they are CafeFrance.”
Coach Macaraya also admitted that the team was greatly demoralized after their 86-92 bowing to the Tanduay Rhum Masters last June 16. The team also played minus an injured Samboy de Leon, who Coach Macaraya described as an important player on both offense and defense.
Carl Bryan Cruz led the Bakers with 20 points and nine rebounds while Ebondo followed with 16 points and nine rebounds. The duo had six points each in the second period to push the Bakers to the halftime lead, 48-31.
McCarthy, who was recently waived by Racal Tiles, marked his return to the AMA fold with aplomb by scattering 25 points, six rebounds and nine assists. Arambulo supported him with 18 points while Jay-R Taganas had a double-double of 16 points and 16 rebounds.
How They Scored:
CAFEFRANCE-CEU (92) – Cruz 20, Ebondo 16, Jeruta 12, Zamar 11, Villahermosa 10, Manlangit 6, Parala 6, Opiso 4, Arim 3, Casino 2, Abundo 2.
AMA ONLINE EDUCATION (86) – McCarthy 25, Arambulo 18, Taganas 16, Publico 15, Siruma 8, Ragasa 2, Bragais 1, Jo Montemayor 1, Je Montemayor 0, Jordan 0.
Period Scores: 27-19, 48-31, 72-59, 92-86.