The 2015 PBA D-League Foundation Cup champions Cafe France-CEU Bakers displayed great poise and unselfishness in an 89-65 blowout against the debuting ZC-Mindanao Aguilas Monday afternoon at the Ynares Sports Center in Pasig City.
The Bakers quickly blasted their debuting opponents to open the contest with a 13-2 run. During that spurt, the Aguilas were limited to just a single field goal and committed numerous unforced turnovers that led to easy points for the Edgar Macaraya-mentored squad. A stepback jumper by Dexter Garcia at the 3:01 mark of the opening stanza broke the drought of the Mindanao-based squad. After cutting the lead to just nine with 36 ticks remaining, Mar Villahermosa was able to convert on a buzzer-beating layup to end the quarter with the Bakers leading 19-8.
The Aguilas were able to bounce back and make a ball game out of the contest as they went on an 11-4 rally to open the second quarter to cut the deficit to just four, 23-19. Garcia scored eight points during the rally that included a long rainbow and a three-point play. However, Cafe France import Rodrigue Ebondo halted whatever momentum gained by the Aguilas with a 9-0 run with all the points coming from the foreigner. Ebondo started the rally with a highlight putback dunk coming from a miss by Villahermosa. Ebondo once again rocked the rim at the 4:31 point of the quarter with a coast-to-coast jam. By the end of the run, Cafe France was once again up by double-digits 32-19. Cafe France then took a 43-31 lead to enter the break with the hulking import already notching a double-double with 14 points and ten boards.
Cafe France continued to surge in the third quarter as they were able to limit the Aguilas to contested jumpers to maintain their double-digit lead all throughout. Former UE Red Warrior Paul Zamar came up big for the Bakers on the other end with his drive-bys. Zamar scored five points in the quarter to help give his team a 57-45 lead to end the third canto.
In the final quarter, the Bakers went on a 10-0 run to open the quarter to break open the game behind Villahermosa and Zamar. With the score already out of reach at the 3:17 mark of the quarter and with the Bakers leading 74-56, things got chippy as Zamar and Mindanao’s Ar-Rouf Julkipli got entangled resulting to a technical foul called on the latter. After the dust had settled, the Bakers continued with their business as they continued to play aggressive up until the final buzzer. Cafe France soundly defeated the Mindanao Aguilas 85-64.
After the game, CEU head coach Edgar Macaraya was still not pleased with how his team performed. “We committed 14 turnovers in the first quarter pero maybe that’s because this is just the first game,” the NAASCU champion coach said. “Malakas yung susunod namin na kalaban (NU-BDO). That will be a good test for us.”
Macaraya then added that even though Rodrigue Ebondo led the team with a double-double performance, 16 points and 17 boards, he was not happy with his shot selection. “Nang-gigigil siya mag drive resulting to poor shot selection. By next game sana maka-adjust din siya sa selection niya,” he closed.
Besides Ebondo, three other Bakers scored in double figures. Joseph Manlangit had 13 points while Villahermosa and Zamar scored 11 and ten points respectively.
For the Aguilas, aggressive point guard Dexter Zamora led the team with 21 points. D-League mainstay Mark Sarangay added 11 points and five boards.
As a team, the Bakers were up in almost all categories. The most glaring of them all is the rebounding margin as the Bakers grabbed 50 boards compared to just 36 for the Aguilas. Moreover, Cafe France was able to force Mindanao to 29 turnovers that led to 24 points off turnovers.
Cafe France (89) – Ebondo 16, Manlangit 13, Villahermosa 11, Zamar 10, Jeruta 9, Celso 7, Arim 5, Casino 5, Cruz 5, De Leon 4, Abundo 2, Opiso 2, Cortez 0, Guinitaran 0.
ZC-Mindanao (65) – Garcia 21, Sarangay 11, Jumao-as 9, Ignacio 6, Acibar 4, De Guzman 3, Rivera 3, Rublico 3, Nalos 2, Villanueva 2, Navarro 1, Julkipli 0, Ongteco 0, Wehterell 0.
Quarterscores: 19-8, 43-31, 57-45, 89-65.
Photo courtesy of PBA Images