Cafe France, Phoenix reach PBA D-League finals | Inquirer Sports
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Cafe France, Phoenix reach PBA D-League finals

By: - Reporter / @cedelfptINQ
09:53 PM March 29, 2016
Cafe France Bakers.  PBA IMAGES

Cafe France Bakers. PBA IMAGES

Samboy de Leon and Rod Ebondo delivered down the stretch as Cafe France unleashed a furious windup to dump Tanduay, 72-63, Tuesday and set up a championship clash with Phoenix-FEU in the PBA D-League Aspirants Cup at Filoil Flying V Center in San Juan.

Bucking a groin injury, De Leon hit a backbreaking triple with 31 seconds remaining while Congolese center Ebondo scored four points in the last two minutes as the Bakers closed the game on an 11-0 tear to complete the sweep of their best-of-three series.

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The Bakers rallied from a 16-point first-half deficit before putting the clamps on the Rhum Masters in the last two minutes.

“The boys deserved it for all their hardwork, preparation and hardship,” said Cafe France coach Egay Macaraya. “The boys showed character and the heart of a champion.”

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A split from Pari Llagas with a little over two minutes remaining turned out to be the Rhum Masters’ last basket as Aaron Jeruta scored on a layup, sparking the strong finish by the reigning Foundation Cup champions.

The Bakers will meet upstart Phoenix FEU in the best-of-five finals starting Thursday after the Accelerators also came from behind to post a 94-90 victory over the Caida Tile Masters.

Phoenix came out strong in the third period to erase Caida’s 13-point lead, before Mike Tolomia, Roger Pogoy and Mac Belo put the finishing touches for the Accelerators, who also wrapped up the series in two games.

“We’re happy because we’re one step closer to our goal,” said Phoenix coach Eric Gonzales.

Former University of Santo Tomas standout Ed Daquioag sparkled for the Accelerators with 22 points, including 13 in the third period when Phoenix got back into the game.

Ebondo finished with 13 points and 12 rebounds, while De Leon also tallied 13 points. Mon Abundo added 12 points and seven boards, while Carl Cruz had 10 points.

The Bakers forced three crucial stops in the last 27 seconds as the Rhum Masters fell short after a promising start to the game.

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The loss wasted a solid outing for Tanduay guard Rudy Lingganay, who finished with 17 points, nine rebounds, and seven assists.

The scores:
First Game
CAFE FRANCE 72—De Leon 13, Ebondo 13, Abundo 12, Cruz 10, Jeruta 9, Zamar 9, Opiso 5, Casino 1, Manlangit 0, Villahermosa 0.
TANDUAY 63—Lingganay 17, Acuna 14, Santos 9, Tagarda 8, Llagas 7, Pessumal 5, Belencion 3, Belleza 0, Cenal 0, Javillonar 0, Wetherell 0.
Quarters: 19-16, 43-28, 51-44, 72-63
Second Game
PHOENIX-FEU 94—Daquioag 22, Tolomia 17, Mendoza 14, Pogoy 13, Belo 11, Jose 9, Andrada 4, Ru. Escoto 4, Ri. Escoto 0, Inigo 0, Tamsi 0.
CAIDA TILE 90—Grey 22, Maiquez 11, Terso 11, Jalalon 9, Javier 8, Nambatac 7, Paniamogan 7, Gabawan 6, Perkins 5, Ruaya 4, Cabrera 0, Robles 0.
Quarters: 28-26, 46-54, 72-69, 94-90

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TAGS: Cafe France, De Leon, PBA D-League, Phoenix
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