Phoenix draws first blood in D-League Finals | Inquirer Sports

Phoenix draws first blood in D-League Finals

By: - Reporter / @cedelfptINQ
/ 12:14 AM April 01, 2016

MAC BELO of Phoenix-FEU (right) elevates to stop a driving Joseph Manlangit of Cafe France in Thursday's game at Ynares Arena in Pasig. AUGUST DELA CRUZ

MAC BELO of Phoenix-FEU (right) elevates to stop a driving Joseph Manlangit of Cafe France in Thursday’s game at Ynares Arena in Pasig. AUGUST DELA CRUZ

PHOENIX-FEU weathered Cafe France’s late explosion to come away with an 82-78 victory Thursday in Game 1 of their best-of-five series in the PBA D-League Aspirants Cup at Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig.

The Accelerators looked headed for a trouble-free victory before the Bakers unleashed a furious run to cut the lead to three points heading into the last 18.2 seconds.


But Ed Daquioag proved steady at the foul line, hitting two-of-two with 12.2 seconds remaining, before Russel Escoto wrapped up the victory with a split as the Accelerators grabbed the headstart in the series.


“We expected that run (from Cafe France), but I’m glad we were able to respond,” said Accelerators coach Eric Gonzales. “We shouldn’t have relaxed.”

Dominant on both ends, Phoenix led by as many as 20 points in the third period and kept Cafe France at bay for majority of the final frame. The Accelerators, banking on the core of UAAP champion Far Eastern U, were firing on all cylinders early on with Mac Belo, RR Pogoy and Mike Tolomia doing the damage.

But it was on the defensive end where the Accelerators found their groove, forcing the usually efficient Bakers to just 33 percent shooting.

“There’s no such thing as perfect defense, only perfect effort,” said Gonzales, whose squad led, 51-31. “As long as the effort is there, I know we will always have a good chance.”

The Bakers looked dead and buried when Daquioag nailed two free throws for a 15-point bubble, 79-64, with 2:09 remaining. But Paul Zamar completed a four-point play on the other end, sparking the Bakers’ furious finish.

The scores:


PHOENIX-FEU 82—Pogoy 18, Daquioag 16, Belo 15, Tolomia 13, Ru. Escoto 12, Ri. Escoto 4, Andrada 3, Jose 1, Inigo 0, Mendoza 0, Pascual 0, Tamsi 0.

CAFEFRANCE 78—Ebondo 16, Zamar 12, Casino 11, Abundo 8, Jeruta 8, Manlangit 8, Opiso 5, Cruz 4, Anunciacion 2, Celso 2, De Leon 2, Arim 0, Villahermosa 0.

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Quarters: 17-12, 41-29, 65-50, 82-78</pre>

TAGS: Aspirants Cup, Cafe France Bakers, Finals, PBA D-League, Phoenix-FEU Accelerators

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