D-League: CafeFrance forces a winner-take-all Game 3
For the first time in PBA D-League Finals history, there will be a deciding Game 3.
CafeFrance forced a do-or-die affair for all the marbles in the 2015 Foundation Cup, stopping Hapee, 76-70, Monday at Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig City.
Eloy Poligrates struck the biggest basket of the afternoon, laying in the ball with 15.5 seconds remaining over the outstretched arms of Chris Newsome to put the Bakers up, 75-67. Troy Rosario nailed a three-pointer to close the gap with 8.9 seconds, but a split from Rod Ebondo finally ended the run for the Fresh Fighters.
“We played good defense. The boys tried to stop Hapee and that’s the key in today’s ballgame,” said coach Egay Macaraya.
Samboy de Leon topped the scoring for the Bakers with 14 points in a 3-of-6 shooting from threes, as Alfred Batino added 11.
Ebondo also made a living in the paint with Hapee not fielding in Ola Adeogun, who sat the game due to a hamstring injury, as the Congolese finished with a double-double of 10 markers and 11 boards, alongside two rejections.
CafeFrance raced to an early lead and built an edge as high as 18, 43-25, behind De Leon and Aaron Jeruta.
The Fresh Fighters clawed their way back and cut the deficit to as low as six, 66-60 midway in the fourth, even as Hapee team manager Bernard Yang and CafeFrance team manager Jun Tiongco got ejected as tempers flared late in the payoff period.
Fortunately for the Bakers, Poligrates and Ebondo drained big shots to end the Fresh Fighters’ run and send the series to a deciding Game 3 on Thursday.
Newsome led the Fresh Fighters with 15 points and 10 rebounds, as Rosario added 14 markers and 10 boards.
Forcing the historic deciding game, Macaraya is optimistic that his squad can pull off the improbable.
“We just won one game. Records are always been broken. Miracles happen every day. Hopefully, we could win one more and win the championship,” he said.
CafeFrance 76 – De Leon 14, Batino 11, Ebondo 10, Sedurifa 9, Jeruta 8, Abundo 8, Poligrates 8, Ahanmisi 7, Cortez 1, Galanza 0, Miranda 0, Noble 0, Andrada 0.
Hapee 70 – Newsome 15, Dela Cruz 14, Rosario 13, Thompson 9, Elorde 6, Romero 5, Amer 3, Mendoza 3, Sorela 2, Gamboa 0, Villahermosa 0, Koga 0.
Quarters: 21-12, 45-30, 62-48, 76-70.