PASIG CITY – Defending champion CafeFrance-CEU once again flashed its deadly form in stopping Blustar Detergent, 90-61, in continuing action from the 2016 PBA D-League Foundation Cup Thursday (July 14) at the Ynares Sports Arena. All the Bakers needed was a 16-0 run to close out the first half and it was all smooth sailing from thereon.
Trailing 26-28, the Bakers turned to twin towers Rodrigue Ebondo and Michael Parala to ignite and sustain the telling run and peg the halftime count in their favor, 42-28. Suddenly, the intense first period that saw 10 deadlocks and four lead changes became a distant memory as CafeFrance further distanced themselves from the Dragons with Ebondo, Paul Zamar and new recruit Jopher Custodio leading the way.
Ebondo mocked all his defenders to finish with 20 points and grabbing 20 rebounds with two blocks for good measure. Zamar also had 20 points to go with six assists.
CafeFrance hardly missed the services of leading scorer Carl Bryan Cruz, who was suspended by the league for elbowing a Racal Tile Master in their game last June 28. Custodio, who has had pro stints with GlobalPort and Kia Motors, ably made up for Cruz’ 15.7 points average by debuting with 14 markers.B
“We prepared well in practice in anticipation of his absence,” said Coach Edgar Macaraya, who arrived in the second half after coaching San Sebastian College in the NCAA. “The players also know that (assistant coach) Yong Garcia will handle the team so they will not be confused.”
The Dragons were led by Juami Tiongson with 17 points on top of five rebounds and three assists. Big man Kuek Tien Yuan struggled with a tournament low 11 points and six rebounds while Ma Chee Kuen also added 11 points.
The victory allowed the Bakers to extend their winning streak to three games and match the Phoenix Accelerators’ pacesetting 6-1 win-loss card. Blustar fell to 1-7, leaving them no choice but to sweep their remaining four games against Racal Tiles, AMA Online Education, Topstar ZC Mindanao and Phoenix if they wish to have a shot at the playoffs.
How They Scored:
CAFEFRANCE-CEU (90) – Zamar 20, Ebondo 20, Custodio 14, Parala 8, Abundo 7, Jeruta 6, Opiso 5, Manlangit 4, Arim 4, Casino 2, Anunciacion 0.
BLUSTAR DETERGENT (61) – Tiongson 17, Kuek 11, Ma 11, Liaw 6, Yim 6, Choo 4, Palma 4, Wong 2, Teo 0, Mak 0, Gan 0.
Period Scores: 22-17, 42-28, 61-45, 90-61.