PASIG CITY – Acquiring Kevin Ferrer proved to be a masterstroke for Coach Lawrence Chongson as Tanduay Rhum mastered defending champion CafeFrance-CEU, 75-74, in a crucial matchup at the 2016 PBA D-League Foundation Cup Monday night (July 25) at the Ynares Sports Arena. In his tournament debut, Ferrer hit the go-ahead triple with 33 seconds left and Reden Celda preserved the win by capping his game-long brilliance with a defensive gem in the waning seconds.
Celda scattered nine markers in a 13-2 run as he pushed the Rhum Masters took a commanding 72-63 lead with three minutes to go. Suddenly, their lead evaporated as Carl Bryan Cruz hit back-to-back triples to ignite a 14-0 response with Cruz restoring the upper hand to the Bakers with 49 ticks on the clock, 74-72, setting the stage for Ferrer’s heroics.
CafeFrance had a chance for redemption but Rudy Lingganay cleanly intercepted the inbound pass only to mishandle ball and return possession to the Bakers. Given another lease on life, the ball found its way to an open JK Casino underneath the basket only to see his attempt swatted away by Celda towards their backcourt as time expired.
“It was miscommunication on our part, that’s why we lost our lead,” said Coach Chongson. “When you play a team like CafeFrance, you must bring your A-game and a lot of luck and we were very lucky today.”
Celda finished with a total of 17 points on top of four assists and one all-important block. Ferrer added nine points and five rebounds with Lingganay and Jovet Mendoza also chipped in nine markers as well.
“We brought in Kevin not just to beat CafeFrance but he is here for the whole nine yards,” added Coach Chongson. “Now that we have him, teams are looking at and targeting us.”
Alvin Abundo paced the Bakers with 18 points, six rebounds and four assists followed by Ebondo with 13 points and 13 rebounds. Tanduay thus proved that its 84-80 triumph last June 16 was no fluke.
CafeFrance’s loss resulted in a three-way tie at the top of the leader board with Racal Tiles and Phoenix Petroleum at 7-2. Lurking half-a-game behind are the Rhum Masters at 7-3 with two more games left against Racal (July 28) AMA Online Education (August 4).
Tanduay also put pressure on the chasing AMA (3-5). As it stands now, the Titans have no recourse but to sweep their last four, including beating the Rhum Masters by seven or more points, to claim a semifinal berth.
How They Scored:
TANDUAY RHUM (75) – Celda 17, Ferrer 9, Mendoza 9, Lingganay 9, Acuna 8 Alolino 7, Javillonar 7, Santos 5, Eguilos 2, Tagarda 2, Gotladera 0, Belencion 0, Javelona 0, Stevens 0.
CAFEFRANCE-CEU (74) – Abundo 18 Ebondo 13, Cruz 10, Opiso 8, Parala 8, Zamar 7, Jeruta 4, Casino 3, Custodio 2, Arim 1, Manlangit 0.
Period Scores: 15-18, 32-38, 52-52, 75-74.