The Cafe France-CEU Bakers (2-0) displayed great ball movement and hard-nosed defense to blow past an Alfred Aroga-less BDO-National University Bulldogs (0-2) to notch their second win in the 2016 PBA D-League Aspirants Cup tournament Thursday afternoon at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig City.
The score was knotted at 21-all by the end of the first quarter, with BDO’s Matthew Salem pacing the Bulldogs with six points, all from downtown, in the early-goings of the game. Not to be outmatched, former UE Red Warrior Paul Zamar led the way for the Bakers, scoring nine markers to lead the way for his team.
Aroga’s absence in the game proved to be crucial in the second quarter, as Cafe France import Rodrigue Ebondo was able to will his way into the paint that helped break the game wide open. Ebondo scored 11 points in the quarter, majority coming from the inside, and later on a go-ahead triple. Moreover, the Bakers’ defense limited the BDO offense to just 12 points in the quarter. Cafe France went up 48-33 by the break.
The Bakers continued to make it rain in the second half, as BDO could not find the answer to the in-and-out offense of their opponents. Zamar and JK Casino continued to drain long jumpers while Carl Cruz was able to sneak in eight points in the final 20 minutes of the game to push the Cafe France lead to a game-high 32 points, 86-54, with 9:16 left in the game.
BDO tried to stage a late game comeback through Salem and Jjay Alejandro, but it proved to be too late as the deficit and time did not allow it. The game mercifully ended with a final score of 110-86.
“Malaking problema for them na wala si Alfred (Aroga),” Cafe France head coach Edgar Macaraya said after the game regarding BDO-NU’s woes.
Moreover, Macaraya added that his team had practiced on their three-point shooting during the break after a horrid 2/21 shooting in their first game against the Mindanao Aguilas. “That was one of the concerns during our first game. Everybody was shooting threes during the practice and that was the result,” Macaraya shared.
Paul Zamar led all scorers with 22 markers on an excellent 7/10 shooting from the field. Zamar was able to knock down 4 triples and was 4/4 from the charity stripe. Former FEU Tamaraw Carl Cruz added a double-double with 15 points and 10 boards, while Rodrigue Ebondo had 19 points.
Matt Salem paced the BDO-NU Bulldogs with 17 markers and 10 rebounds. He was 6/9 from the field and was able to drain four threes. Alejandro had 15 points on 60% shooting as well.
As a team, both teams shot 53% from the field. However, the Bakers were able to knock down 14 triples in the game compared to just 7 for the Bulldogs. Moreover, Edgar Macaraya’s squad displayed great ball movement, assisting all but 7 of the field goals they made, 33 assists in 40 field goals made.
The Cafe France-CEU Bakers (2-0) will face a formidable UP-QRS/Jam Liner (2-0) squad on Thursday, February 4, at 4:00pm, while the BDO-NU Bulldogs (0-2) will look for their first win in the tournament against the AMA University Titans (0-1) on Tuesday, February 9. Both games are set to be played at the Filoil Flying V Centre in San Juan City.
Cafe France-CEU (110) – Zamar 22, Ebondo 19, Cruz 15, Casino 12, Jeruta 11, De Leon 7, Manlangit 6, Villahermosa 6, Arim 5, Guinitaran 3, Abundo 2, Opiso 2, Celso 0.
BDO-NU (86) – Salem 17, Alejandro 15, Javelona 9, Labingisa 9, Tansingco 8, Perez 7, Salim 7, Diputado 6, Rono 6, Yu 2.
Quarterscores: 21-21, 48-33, 82-54, 110-86.
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