MANILA, Philippines - Cafe France made short work of Arellano University, 92-63, yesterday to keep their flickering playoff hopes alive in the PBA D-League Aspirants’ Cup at the JCSGO gym in Cubao, Quezon City.
Needing an all-important win, the back-to-the-wall Bakers played with a sense of urgency and controlled the game from the start.
Rod Ebondo scored 18 points, pulled down 12 rebounds and had four blocks to lead the Bakers, who closed out the elimination round with an 8-5 record.
They will advance to the quarterfinals if Blackwater Sports (7-5) loses to Cebuana Lhuillier (5-7) today.
In the other games, Big Chill subdued Boracay Rum, 94-91, to regain the solo lead while Banco de Oro pounced on Zambales M-Builders, 94-68, for its first back-to-back win in the tournament.
Reil Cervantes tallied 28 points while Quinton Heruela added 10 and had 10 assists for the Superchargers, who improved to 11-1. Boracay Rum closed out its campaign with a 6-7 mark.
Jethroy Rosario scored 23 points and had 17 rebounds to lead five players in double figures as the Bulldogs improved to 4-8 mark. Zambales M-Builders, which showed up with only nine players, absorbed its ninth consecutive loss and fell to 10-2.
“We’re still at it. All we can do now is sit and wait. Our fortune is not in our hands. But in case a miracle happens, we’re ready for the next round,” said Café France coach Egay Macaraya.
“But I’m still pleased with what we have achieved this conference. Our record is a big improvement from the last conference. It only goes to show that Café France’s goal to develop new players is a success.”
Mark Parale scored 15 points while Ryan Gallardo had 10 and eight assists for the Bakers, who dominated the boards, 54-32. Their aggressiveness off the glass also earned a 24-5 advantage on second chance points and 24-17 edge on fast break points.
Arellano University had its finest moment in the early going when John Tayongtong and Moncfrief Rogado knocked successive threes to give the Chiefs a 10-8 lead.
But the Bakers, starring Gallardo, Parale and Josan Nimes responded with a 16-0 run and never trailed the rest of the way. Café France posted its largest lead at 80-48 and 82-50 early in the fourth quarter.
Joshua Webb and Rocky Acidre scored 14 points apiece for Arellano University, which picked up its 11th consecutive loss and wound up its campaign with a 1-12 mark.