PBA D-League: Bakers open title retention bid with Aguilas rout
Cafe France went on a tear early and walloped Topstar ZC Mindanao, 89-64, to open the 2016 PBA D-League Foundation Cup in style Thursday at Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig.
The Bakers kickstarted their title retention bid with a blazing 20-6 start but lost their bearings after the halftime break, allowing the Aguilas to crawl back and trim the lead to just six, 45-39, midway in the third.
But Cafe France recovered, pulling away anew and erecting a lead as high as 28, 86-58, late in the game.
“They have to understand that they have to overcome those obstacles. I just let them feel and understand na kaya nila yan. Sometimes, they have to learn to compose themselves and not rely on the coaches,” said coach Egay Macaraya.
Carl Bryan Cruz paced the Bakers with 21 points and four rebounds, while Paul Zamar added 17 markers and five assists.
Samboy de Leon also had 12 points, and Congolese big man Rod Ebondo tallied a double-double with 11 markers and 12 rebounds, alongside two blocks in the win.
Focused on keeping the the title this conference, Macaraya reminded his boys to stay patient as they hope to atone last conference’s runner-up finish.
“The only thing I told the boys is improving every game and tingnan na lang natin kung ano ang mangyayari,” he said.
Gino Jumao-as and Dexter Garcia finished with 11 points in the defeat, while JR Cawaling got eight markers in his debut for the Aguilas.
CAFE FRANCE 89 – Cruz 21, Zamar 17, De Leon 12, Ebondo 11, Opiso 7, Abundo 6, Casino 6, Villahermosa 6, Jeruta 2, Manlangit 1, Arim 0, Cortez 0.
TOPSTAR ZC MINDANAO 64 – Garcia 11, Jumao-as 11, Argamino 9, Cabrera 9, Cawaling 8, Ignacio 6, Sarangay 6, Ongteco 4, Acosta 0, Dadjilul 0, Rivera 0, Rono 0, Tano 0.
Quarters: 20-9, 43-24, 59-43, 89-64.