Sidney Onwubere drilled the game-winning three at the buzzer to give Racal an 88-86 victory over Cafe France in Game 1 of their semifinals series in the 2017 PBA D-League Aspirants’ Cup Tuesday at Marikina Sports Center.
The hardworking forward banked on his scintillating shooting, catching the ball with 1.9 seconds left in the clock and firing the deciding three to put the Tile Masters closer to a Finals berth.
“I just shot the ball and I’m happy it went in,” said Onwubere, who poured 24 points on a 5-of-10 shooting from beyond the arc, to go with his three rebounds and three assists.
Kent Salado added 16 markers, six boards, and six dimes, while Jackson Corpuz poured 14 points and six rebounds for Racal.
The Tile Masters seemed to have lost hold of the game after Corpuz inadvertently tapped the ball to an open Rod Ebondo on a rebound play, leading to an open three to push the Bakers up, 86-85, with 1.9 seconds remaining.
But Onwubere had other plans as he capped off Racal’s 13-4 windup that overhauled an 82-75 deficit with 2:07 to play.
“I brought the shooters in and we’re just going for a decent shot,” said coach Jerry Codinera of the last play. “Sidney was open so I’m glad that he took the shot. I’m happy with the patience he showed on his offense today.”
Ebondo topped Cafe France with 30 points, 13 rebounds, and four blocks, while Paul Desiderio got 17 markers, four assists, and three boards.
Game 2 is on Thursday at Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig.
RACAL 88 – Onwubere 24, Salado 16, Corpuz 14, Flores 10, Nambatac 9 Mangahas 7, Dagangon 3, Torres 3, Gabawan 2, Gumaru 0, Terso 0.
CAFE FRANCE 86 – Ebondo 30, Desiderio 17, Casino 13, Sedurifa 9, Calisaan 5, Faundo 4, Wamar 3, Arim 2, Manlangit 2, Jeruta 1, Aquino 0, Guinitaran 0.
Quarters: 22-20, 39-34, 59-60, 88-86.