The Cafe France Bakers successfully bounced back from their last game’s loss against Tanduay after shooting down AMA University Online University, 92-86, in the 2016 PBA D-League Foundation Cup Tuesday afternoon at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig City.
The Bakers quickly built an 11-7 lead to open the first quarter, but AMA scored six points off jumpers from Rey Publico and Stephen Siruma to make it even midway, 13-13. The deadlock did not last long, as the Bakers heated up from beyond the arc behind Carl Cruz, Oliver Arim, and Mike Parala to get ahead of AMA and end the frame up by seven, 27-20.
AMA closed by three, 27-24, after holding Cafe France scoreless in the opening minutes of the second frame. But AMA failed to capitalize, as the Bakers dominated AMA with their smooth offensive flow through Cruz, Paul Zamar, and Rodrigue Ebondo to pull away, 40-26. AMA scored a few more baskets to trim the deficit, but the first half closed with Cafe France up big, 48-31.
AMA, in the third canto, set the tempo up early to slowly chip away the double-digit deficit. With the trio of JR Taganas, Rashawn McCarthy, and Ryan Arambulo converting baskets of their own, AMA made it a single-digit affair, 64-57. Cafe France, meanwhile, prevented AMA to close in further by pulling off a 12-3 run capped by a Zamar buzzer-beater to widen the gap, 72-59.
McCarthy raised the curtains of the final quarter with six straight points to make it a nine-point game, 74-65, but the Bakers still managed to keep AMA at bay with torrid shooting from Ebondo, Cruz, and Jess Villahermosa to reinstate the two-digit advantage, 88-73. AMA ended the quarter with a 6-0 run, but it was not enough to sneak past the defending champions.
CafeFrance head coach Egay Macaraya was positive with his team’s six-point victory. “Medyo demoralized sila [because of last game], pero nanalo pa rin,” he said.
Cruz led Cafe France with 20 points. Ebondo had 16, while Aaron Jeruta made 12. Zamar and Villahermosa scored 11 and 10, respectively.
The wide-bodied Taganas led AMA with a double-double effort, 16 points and 16 rebounds.
With the victory, Cafe France now owns a 4-1 slate, while AMA is still winless with a 0-4 record. The Bakers will face Racal Tile Masters on Tuesday, June 28 while AMA takes on BluStar Detergent Dragons on Monday, June 27.
Cafe France (92) – Cruz 20, Ebondo 16, Jeruta 12, Zamar 11, Villahermosa 10, Manlangit 6, Parala 6, Opiso 4, Arim 3, Abundo 2, Casino 2, Anuncacion 0, Celso 0, De Leon, 0.
AMA Online Education (86) – McCarthy 25, Arambulo 18, Taganas 16, Publico 15, Siruma 8, Ragasa 2, Bragais 1, Montemayor 1, Calma 0, Carpo 0, Gutierrez 0, Jordan 0, Magpantay 0, Montemayor 0.
Quarterscores: 27-20, 48-31, 72-59, 92-86.