Cafe France shook off its early struggles and repulsed Jose Rizal University, 86-75, to advance to the 2017 PBA D-League Aspirants’ Cup semifinals Thursday at Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig.
Paul Desiderio unloaded 16 points powered by three treys, on top of four rebounds and two assists, while Rod Ebondo got 16 markers, 11 boards, and three blocks.
Joseph Sedurifa also notched 15 points, eight rebounds, and four assists in his return to the Bakers, while JK Casino got 15 markers, 11 coming in the third period, and five dimes.
The win arranged Cafe France a date with two-seed Racal in a best-of-3 semifinals series.
But the win left a lot to be desired for coach Egay Macaraya.
“I think this game really showed that our weakness is when the defense goes to a zone. We must make our outside shots so that we can also get the ball down low to Ebondo,” the mentor said.
Fighting back from 10 points down, 32-22, late in the second quarter, Cafe France got its act together and unleashed a killer 33-point third period to grab a 65-55 lead.
Tey Teodoro kept the Heavy Bombers within striking distance, cutting the deficit to just five, 70–65, with 4:50 to play, but Desiderio dropped a pair of treys to momentarily diffuse the rally. Rey Publico nailed two freebies in JRU’s last stand, 78-75 in the final 1:24, but Sedurifa fired the dagger three to seal the win for the Bakers.
Teodoro topped the Heavy Bombers with 18 points, two rebounds, and two assists, while Jhaps Bautista had 14 markers, five boards, and three dimes in the loss.
CAFE FRANCE 86 – Desiderio 16, Ebondo 16, Casino 15, Sedurifa 15, Calisaan 9, Faundo 6 Arim 3, Jeruta 2, Manlangit 2, Wamar 2, Aquino 0, Guinitaran 0, Veron 0.
JRU 75 – Teodoro 18, Bautista 14, Amboludto 10, Dela Virgen 8, Marquez 8, Publico 7, Lasquety 6, Poutouochi 4, Astilla 0.
Quarters: 15-22, 32-38, 65-55, 86-75.