PASIG CITY – Defending champion CafeFrance-CEU officially deleted AMA Online Education from the 2016 PBA D-League Foundation Cup picture after a resounding 86-70 victory Thursday (July 28) at the Ynares Sports Arena. Reserve guard JK Casino went on a fourth period shooting spree in tandem with Carl Bryan Cruz for their eighth win in 10 games and a share of the leadership with Racal Tiles.
Trailing 59-64 with six minutes left in the fourth period, Casino hit back-to-back triples to ignite a 14-0 for a 73-64 lead from which the Titans never recovered. Casino was not yet done, draining another triple for an unassailable 76-66 lead with a little over three minutes to play as Cruz and Rodrigue Ebondo put the finishing touches on the win.
“Our one-point loss to Tanduay last time was very painful,” said Coach Edgar Macaraya. “I made the mistake of ordering a hard practice afterwards and it really affected our performance in the first half.”
Fighting for their lives, AMA looked good and stayed in step with the Bakers with Rashawn McCarthy giving them valuable momentum with a buzzer-beating floater at the end of the third period and a one-point lead, 55-54.
McCarthy continued his scoring ways early in the fourth as he combined with James Martinez and Jerome Ortega in building their 64-59 lead before the Bakers’ explosion. Casino easily atoned for his performance in the loss to Tanduay last July 25 wherein his potential game-winner was blocked by Reden Celda by ending up with 14 of his 20 points
Ebondo led the way for the Bakers with a personal tournament high of 25 points on top of 14 rebounds and two blocks. Cruz had 10 of his 21 points in the fourth period to go with eight rebounds, marking a rare occurrence of three teammates with 20 or more markers each.
Despite the loss, McCarthy also hit a personal tournament high of 28 points to go with five assists. James Martinez had 15 points but was limited to a sole basket in the fourth period.
As it stands, the semifinal cast is complete with the Bakers (8-2) joined by Racal Tiles (8-2), Phoenix Petroleum (7-3) and Tanduay Rhum (7-3) – a mere game separating first from last place. All that remains to be resolved is their final seedings with the elimination round ending on August 9.
How They Scored:
CAFEFRANCE-CEU (86) – Ebondo 25, Cruz 21, Casino 20, Zamar 7, Manlangit 5, Abundo 4, Jeruta 2, Parala 2, Opiso 0, Custodio 0, Arim 0, Anunciacion 0.
AMA ONLINE EDUCATION (70) – McCarthy 28, Martinez 15, Ortega 8, Jordan 6, Jo Montemayor 4, Arambulo 4, Asuncion 2, Je Montemayor 0, Bragais 0, Macaranas 0, Belleza 0.
Period Scores: 25-20, 45-44, 54-55, 86-70.