Cignal, Cafe France force do-or-die semis
With their backs against the wall, Cignal-San Beda and Cafe France proved more than equal to the challenge on Thursday to send their respective semifinal series to a do-or-die affair in the 2017 PBA D-League Aspirants’ Cup.
The Hawkeyes leaned on the heroics of Jason Perkins and Pamboy Raymundo to slip past Tanduay, 89-86, to level their series at one game apiece, before the Bakers whipped up a second half storm to overwhelm the Racal Tile Masters, 86-75, at Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig.
Aaron Jeruta poured 10 of his 18 points in the fourth quarter as the Bakers completed a remarkable comeback after trailing 33-43 at halftime.
Heeding Macaraya’s call for more support for big man Rod Ebondo, Jeruta also dished out six assists for the Bakers, who bounced back after an 86-88 loss in Game 1 last Tuesday.
Bakers coach Egay Macaraya said Jeruta’s clutch performance couldn’t have come at a better time.
“He’s the only veteran in the team and this was his breakthrough game,” said Macaraya, whose team battled back from a 43-57 third quarter deficit.
Ebondo finished with 25 points, 22 rebounds and six blocks for the Bakers, who closed out the game on a 16-4 tear.
The Hawkeyes were equally impressive in tying their series with the Rhum Masters as Perkins buried two go-ahead three pointers in the final 2:42, before Raymundo sealed the win with a floater.
“It sounds cliche, but the boys really stepped up today,” said coach Boyet Fernandez as Cignal rediscovered its shooting touch after a horrendous outing last Tuesday.
The Hawkeyes brandished a balanced attack with Perkins leading four others in twin digits with 15 points. Raymundo tallied 11 points, four boards, and four assists.