Cafe France gave itself one last shot of claiming one of the top two spots in the 2016 PBA D-League Foundation Cup after beating Topstar ZC Mindanao, 93-67, Tuesday at JCSGO Gym in Cubao.
But the hopes of claiming a twice-to-beat incentive will largely depend on the ongoing game between Racal and AMA Online Education.
If the Titans upset the Tile Masters, the Bakers will cop the top spot and face Tanduay in the semifinals.
However, if Racal defeats AMA, Cafe France will duel against Phoenix with a twice-to-win disadvantage.
“We’re still hoping pero whoever we play, we’ll prepare hard for the semis naman,” said Bakers assistant coach Mike Buendia, who took over with coach Yong Garcia for suspended head coach Egay Macaraya.
“Nakakahinayang. We lost some crucial games, pero ganun talaga. We have to live with it. Yung top four na papasok can beat anybody naman.”
Carl Bryan Cruz carried Cafe France with 23 points and five rebounds off the bench, while
Mike Parala added a double-double with 12 markers and 10 boards.
Paul Zamar chimed in 12 points, and Joseph Manlangit got 11 markers and six rebounds for the Bakers, which finished the eliminations with a 9-3 record.
Congolese big man Rod Ebondo was under the weather and opted to skip the game.
Cafe France used a strong second half to finally fend off the Aguilas, breaking away early in the fourth as they held a 71-52 lead, which would even go as high as the final 26-point spread.
“Ang bilin lang ni coach, play within the system and follow the gameplan, execute our offense, and play good defense,” said Buendia. “Luckily nung second half, naging ok kami.”
Topstar ZC Mindanao bowed out of the tournament winless at 0-12.
Gino Jumao-as had 12 points and four rebounds, while JR Cawaling got 12 in the defeat.
CAFE FRANCE 93 – Cruz 23, Parala 12, Zamar 12, Manlangit 11, Opiso 10, Abundo 6, Arim 6, Custodio 6, Casino 3, Anunciacion 2, Jeruta 2.
TOPSTAR ZC MINDANAO 67 – Jumao-as 20, Cawaling 12, Garcia 9, Ongteco 7, Santos 7, Argamino 4, Julkipli 3, Rivera 3, Sarangay 2, Dadjilul 0, Tano 0.
Quarters: 22-18, 48-36, 64-52, 93-67.