PASIG CITY – Defending champion CafeFrance-CEU passed another hurdle towards its title retention bid by mastering Racal Tiles, 78-72, at the 2016 PBA D-League Foundation Cup at the Ynares Sports Arena Tuesday (June 28). The Bakers also stopped the Tile Masters, 83-79, last June 9.
Holding to a precarious 58-56 cushion after three periods, Rodrigue Ebondo scored CafeFrance’s first six points in the final period and help off a Racal rally to stay on top, 64-63. Billy Ray Robles then returned the lead to Racal via a basket but Paul Zamar chipped in a free throw and Alvin Abundo delivered back-to-back triples to give the Bakers a 70-65 advantage.
Racal called a timeout but the ploy backfired as they failed to convert, resulting in back-to-back easy scores from Aaron Jeruta for a 10-point lead with still 1:41 on the clock, 75-65.
“Credit to the boys, they really defended well against a good offensive team,” said Coach Edgar Macaraya. “Right now, our problem is an injured to Samboy de Leon and I hope he can return soon.”
Prior to the game, the Tile Masters were averaging 99.8 points per game. The 72 points scored is their lowest effort in the tournament.
The win came at a cost as the Bakers’ leading scorer Carl Bryan Cruz was thrown out of the game at the 5:41 mark of the third period for elbowing Dexter Maiquez above the shoulder. Cruz is facing a possible ban in their next game against Blustar Detergent on July 14.
Ebondo registered another monster performance with 22 points and 15 rebounds. Abundo followed with 16 points and four rebounds.
Jonathan Grey led Racal with 12 points. Philip Paniamogan and Chris Javier chipped in 11 and 10 markers respectively.
How They Scored:
CAFEFRANCE-CEU (78) – Ebondo 22, Abundo 16, Cruz 13, Jeruta 5, Manlangit 5, Zamar 4, Opiso 4, Parala 4, Villahermosa 2, Casino 0.
RACAL TILES (72) – Grey 12, Paniamogan 11, Javier 10, Maiquez 9, Terso 9, Celiz 5, Banal 4, Gabawan 4, Ortuoste 3, Robles 3, Ruaya 2, Corpuz 0, Neypes 0.
Period Scores: 20-15, 38-31, 58-56, 78-72.