Tile Masters survive Bakers, near finals slot

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Sidney Onwubere was the hero Racal needed as he nailed the game-winning trey to lift his side to an 88-86 Game 1 win against Cafe France on Tuesday at Marikina Sports Center, moving a win away from advancing to the 2017 PBA D-League Aspirants’ Cup Finals.

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Heating up from downtown, the gritty forward shot the lights out from three, going 5-of-10 from beyond the arc, none bigger than his buzzer-beating trey to cap off the Tile Masters’ late 13-4 fightback.

“I just go for it,” said the Filipino-Nigerian Onwubere, who finished with 24 points, three rebounds, and three assists.

“We just fielded our shooters and we’re just going for a decent shot,” said coach Jerry Codinera. “Luckily, Sidney was open. I’m happy with the patience he showed on his offense today.”

Kent Salado chipped in 16 markers, six boards, and six dimes, while Jackson Corpuz got 14 points and six rebounds.

The Tile Masters fought back from an 82-75 deficit with 2:07 remaining and seemed to have lost grip of the game after Rod Ebondo, who received the ball after an errant Corpuz tap on a rebound play, nailed a three with 1.9 seconds remaining to give the Bakers an 86-85 advantage.

Onwubere, though, would refuse to lose as he got the ball off of an inbounds pass from Allan Mangahas to save the day for Racal.

Ebondo carried Cafe France with 30 points, 13 rebounds, and four blocks, while Paul Desiderio had 17 markers, four assists, and three boards.

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