The Café France Bakers outlasted BluStar Detergent Dragons’ torrid shooting to reign victorious, 98-83, in the 2016 PBA D-League Foundation Cup Tuesday evening at the JCSGO Gym in Cubao, Quezon City.
Café France started well in the first quarter, quickly posting a 10-3 lead over Blustar. The latter made it a close affair, chipping in baskets from their running game to inch within three, 14-11, after a Chee Huei Liaw jumper. However, the Bakers, led by Aaron Jeruta and Michael Parala, pulled away with a 14-2 run to close out the frame ahead by nine, 25-16.
BluStar’s shooting from the perimeter improved in the following quarter, with Liaw, Ivan Yeo, Wei Hong Choo, and Yi Hou Wong hitting their shots from afar. But their shooting seemed to be of no help, as Café France posted and maintained a double-digit lead, led by Samboy De Leon and Paul Zamar all through out the frame. The Bakers went to the break ahead by fifteen, 52-37.
Café France slowed down a bit in the third canto, allowing BluStar to trim down the deficit to a single digit, 56-49, in the 6:36 mark. Sensing the danger of Blustar’s comeback skills, Jess Villahermosa brought spark into the Café France offense, taking it upon himself by scoring 14 in the quarter alone to sustain his team’s advantage and end the frame to their favor, 76-55.
The Bakers, in the last quarter, built the game’s biggest lead at 25, 85-60, after back-to-back baskets from Carl Cruz. The Dragons, meanwhile, regained their touch from beyond the arc and got to within sixteen, 87-71, with 4:02 in the clock, but that proved to be the Malaysian team’s last hurrah, as they failed to sustain consistency on both ends of the floor and let Café France pull away for good, 98-83, as the final buzzer sounded.
Despite the victory, Café France Head Coach Egay Macaraya addressed their match-up dilemmas with BluStar. “Their bigs are agile. Everytime may kalaban kami na agile bigs, hirap kami,” said Macaraya. “[Pero] advantage natin is yung klase ng game natin. Talent and development natin, lamang tayo,” he added.
Cruz was the leading scorer of the Bakers after hitting 19 points. Villahermosa backed him up with 17, while Zamar had 15. The Dragons were led by Tian Yuan Kuek and Chee Khuen Ma with 19 and 15 markers apiece.
With the victory, Café France now own a clean 3-0 slate, while BluStar are 0-2.
CafeFrance (98) – Cruz 19, Villahermosa 17, Zamar 15, De Leon 12, Ebondo 11, Parala 11, Jeruta 7, Arim 4, Opiso 2, Casino 0, Abundo 0, Manlangit 0.
BluStar (83) – Kuek 19, Ma 15, Liaw 14, Choo 14, Ting 8, Yeo 5, Wong 4, Palma 2, Tong 0, Kamaruddin 0, Mak 0.