QUEZON CITY – Phoenix Petroleum recovered their bearings in time to repel defending champion CafeFrance-CEU, 91-83, in the featured match from the 2016 PBA D-League Foundation Cup at the Jesus Christ Saves Global Outreach (JCSGO) Gym Thursday (August 4). With valuable playoff positioning at stake, Mac Belo and Mike Tolomia hit clutch baskets to preserve the victory.
Ed Daquioag opened the final period with a free throw off a technical foul Bakers coach Edgar Macaraya for complaining during the lull after the third, 81-61. Returning to live action, CafeFrance went on a searing 14-0 run led by Alvin Abundo to close in by the 5:30 mark, 75-81.
Russell Escoto finally ended the Accelerators’ slumber via the free throw line and Roger Pogoy added two field goals as they held on to a shaky 87-79 advantage nearing the last two minutes. Rodrigue Ebondo scored to put the Bakers within six markers anew, 81-87, with 1:26 to go but that was the last to be heard from the champs as Belo and Tolomia sank back-to-back baskets that restored their 10-point lead and 33 ticks to play, 91-81.
Belo and Tolomia also starred in the Accelerators’ third period breakaway as they combined for 25 of their 39 points. Tolomia ended up with 28 points and six assists while Belo added 21 points and six rebounds.
Ebondo had a double-double for CafeFrance with 21 points and 14 rebounds. Carl Bryan Cruz was next with 19 points.
The Accelerators thus avenged their 93-96 overtime defeat to the Bakers last July 21. Phoenix closed their elimination round schedule with a 9-3 win-loss card and now await the results of the remaining games to determine their final playoff seeding.
“More than the win, I looked at how we played together on both offense and defense,” said Coach Eric Gonzales. “I did not call a timeout during CafeFrance’s rally because I wanted to test my players.”
The possibility of a three-way tie at 9-3 at the top looms if Racal Tiles will lose to AMA Online Education coupled by a win by winless Topstar ZC Mindanao of CafeFrance next Tuesday (August 9), the final day of the eliminations. If that happens, the Bakers and Tile Masters will get the top two seeds while the Accelerators will drop to third spot.
A win by the Tile Masters will simplify matters and earn them the top seeding while keeping Phoenix at second place. If they end up tied, Phoenix holds the tiebreaker over the Bakers for the second seed and the twice-to-beat advantage.
How They Scored:
PHOENIX PETROLEUM (91) – Tolomia 28, Belo 21, Daquioag 12, Pogoy 9, Escoto 6, Tamsi 6, Mendoza 4, Jamito 4, Batino 1, Andrada 0, Inigo 0, Knuttel 0, Colina 0.
CAFEFRANCE-CEU (83) – Ebondo 21, Cruz 19, Parala 13, Casino 11, Abundo 8, Zamar 3, Manlangit 3, Custodio 3, Jeruta 2, Opiso 0, Arim 0.
Period Scores: 16-19, 41-36, 80-61, 91-83.