Phoenix rises in D-League, claims title against Café France

Phoenix-FEU Tamaraws. Photo by Tristan Tamayo/

Phoenix-FEU Tamaraws. Photo by Tristan Tamayo/

It took no time at all for Phoenix-FEU to make a mark in the PBA D-League as it took the Aspirants’ Cup title at the expense of Café France, 88-81, Thursday at Ynares Sports Arena.


First-timers they may be in the league, but the Accelerators know how to win even in a pressure-packed overtime situation in the fifth game of a five-game series nonetheless.


It was the Tamaraw trio of Mac Belo, Roger Pogoy, and Mike Tolomia who steered the Accelerators in extra period scoring all of the team’s points.


Tolomia and Baker guard Paul Zamar would trade triples in the final two minutes as the Accelerators took an 81-78 lead with 2:39 remaining.


Roger Pogoy then joined the fun, hitting his own three with 2:10 remaining to put Phoenix-FEU up 84-78.


Accelerators head coach Eric Gonzales said they had to hold on in the overtime period as it was a “now or never situation” for them.


“Bawal kaming mag give up; lalo na ang coach, hindi pwedeng mag give up,” Gonzales said. “Gusto nila eh, na pagusapan namin, sabi ko ‘pagod na sila, pagod na tayo, ngayon pa ba tayo bibitaw?’”


“Laban silang lahat.”


Belo took the nod as the best player of the series as he notched up 25 points and 13 rebounds in the final game while Tolomia added 15 points and seven boards.


Raymar Jose and Russel Escoto also finished in double figures with 11 and 10 points, respectively.


Zamar led the Bakers with 20 points, seven in the overtime period, while Rodrigue Ebondo added a 14-point, 20-rebound double-double.