Café France scored a come from-behind victory over Jose Rizal University (JRU), 86-75, to enter the semifinals of the 2017 Philippine Basketball Association D-League Aspirants’ Cup on Thursday at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig City.
Rodrigue Ebondo had a double-double performance with 16 points and 11 rebounds to lead the Bakers, who will face Racal Tile Masters in the best-of-three semifinals series.
Paul Desiderio racked up 16 markers and four boards while Joseph Sedurifa and John Carlo Casino had 15 points each for Café France.
Staring at a 32-38 halftime deficit, Casino carried the slow starting Bakers by unloading his 11 points total output in the third frame to grab the lead at 39-38, with 8:44 left.
Ebondo scored seven straight points to extend their lead to six, 48-42, midway in the third canto. Café France stretched the lead to 10, 65-55, entering the fourth canto.
The Heavy Bombers staged a rally and sliced the lead to three, 75-78, behind the heroics of Jerard Bautista and Rey Publico, with 90 seconds left in the game.
But Sedurifa delivered the dagger with a three-pointer, 81-75, with one minute left and charities from Joseph Manlangit and Jeepy Faundo sealed the win for the Bakers.
“We really struggled in the zoning [of players]but we are happy that we were able to get back from a slow start,” said Café France head coach Egay Macaraya in a postgame interview.
Bernabe Teodoro netted 18 points while Bautista chipped in 14 markers for JRU.
John Ambuludto had 10 while Joseph Maruez and Justin Dela Virgen combined for 16 points also for the Heavy Bombers.