Bakers put icing on D-League playoffs No. 1 seed
Cameroonian center Rodrigue Ebondo threw his weight around inside the paint and carried Cafe France to an 83-74 pummeling of Phoenix-Far Eastern U and the top seed in the quarterfinals of the PBA D-League Aspirants’ Cup at Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig.
In a battle between two teams expected to make it far in the tournament, the 6-foot-5 Ebondo finished with 26 points and 19 rebounds in another dominant performance while the Bakers put the clamps on Mac Belo and Mike Tolomia on the other end to notch their seventh win in eight games.
The top seeding will give the Bakers a twice-to-beat edge against the No. 8 seed in the quarterfinals.
“It’s just a seeding but it’s still a good motivation for the quarterfinals,” said Cafe France coach Egay Macaraya. “The boys played well and really executed the game plan.”
Former Far Eastern U standout Carl Cruz tallied 13 points, while Mon Abundo also stepped up with 10 points in the second half as they helped the Bakers gain cushion from a tight game in the final period.
Tolomia and Belo were held to a combined 13 points on 5-of-18 shooting as the Accelerators fell to 5-2. Phoenix, however, will still have a twice-to-beat advantage in the quarterfinals.
University of the Philippines-QRS-Jam Liner also clinched a twice-to-beat-bonus following a 100-84 rout of AMA University.
With the victory, the Maroons finished the elimination round with a 5-3 record, good for fourth spot ahead of Tanduay Rhum. Both UP and Tanduay wound up with identical 5-3 records, but the Maroons took the higher seed due to the winner-over-the-other rule.
The Titans, who finished the elimination round with a 2-6 record, will still advance to the quarterfinals as the seventh seed
UP QRS/JAM 100—Soyud 25, Aguilar 18, Ferrer 14, Moralde 14, Alolino 7, Batino 6, Dario 4, Desiderio 4, Neypes 4, Baloria 2, Lim 2, Harris 0, Sorela 0.
AMA U 84—Jamito 24, McCarthy 17, King 15, Amboludto 11, De Leon 6, Tampus 6, Arambulo 4, Jordan 1, Angeles 0, Asuncion 0, Gutierrez 0, Magpantay 0, Tobias 0.
Quarters: 19-25, 44-45, 69-63, 100-84
CAFE FRANCE-CEU 83—Ebondo 26, Villahermosa 13, Cruz 11, De Leon 11, Abundo 10, Jeruta 5, Opiso 3, Manlangit 2, Zamar 2.
PHOENIX-FEU 74—Tamsi 17, Tolomia 9, Mendoza 7, Pascual 7, Andrada 6, Belo 6, Escoto Ri. 6, Daquioag 5, Escoto Ru. 5, Inigo 4, Lee Yu 2.
Quarters: 18-15, 43-41, 65-58, 83-74