Tile Masters enter first PBA D-League finals

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Racal Cera­-Mica scored a thrilling 78-74 win over Café France to book its first finals appearance in the 2017 Philippine Basketball Association D-League Aspirants’ Cup on Tuesday at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig City.

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Allan Mangahas notched a crucial three-pointer with 4.3 ticks left to secure the win in the do-or-die Game 3 semis match for the Tile Masters.

Kent Salado of Racal Ceramica attempts to score through the guard of Rodrigue Ebondo of Café France during the 2017 Philippine Basketball Association D-League Aspirants’ Cup on Tuesday at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig City. PBA MEDIA BUREAU PHOTO

Kent Salado led the way for Racal with 16 points, eight rebounds and six assists but it was Mangahas’ clutch triple in the closing seconds that cemented the franchise’s first finals appearance since joining the league in 2014.

Mangahas added 15 markers while Rey Nambatac chipped in 11 points for the Tile Masters, who will face the winner of Cignal-Tanduay semifinals match which was being played as of press time.

“I just picked the right players in the end game. I just put my trust on them,” said Racal coach Jerry Codiñera, who also drew 10 points from Sidney Onwubere, the hero in their 88-86 win in Game 1.

The Tile Masters threatened to pull away in the game after Roider Cabrera drilled a three-pointer for a 65-56 lead with five minutes left in the game.

Paul Desiderio, Joseph Sedurifa and Rob Ebondo joined hands and tied the game at 72-all with 59 ticks left.

Jackson Corpuz completed a three-point play in the next possession for the Tile Masters, 75-72, and Ebondo sliced the lead to one with two free throws, 74-75, 26.2 seconds remaining.

Then came Mangahas’ shot that sealed Racal’s entry to the best-of-three championship series.

The Tile Masters’ win spoiled the solid game from Ebondo, who had 26 points and 20 rebounds. Desiderio added 16 while Sedurifa chipped in 11 for the Bakers.

Scores:
RACAL 78 – Salado 16, Mangahas 15, Nambatac 11, Onwubere 10, Corpuz 9, Cabrera 5, Capacio 5, Dagangon 5, Flores 2, Torres 0, Gabawan 0, Gumaru 0, Gabayani 0, Terso 0.

CAFE FRANCE 74 – Ebondo 26, Desiderio 16, Sedurifa 11, Faundo 8, Calisaan 4, Jeruta 3, Manlangit 3, Casino 2, Arim 1, Aquino 0, Guinitaran 0, Veron 0, Opiso 0, Wamar Jr. 0.

Quarterscores: 14-20, 32-34, 51-52, 78-74

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