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Cafe France rallies to stun Caida


By Ivan Saldajeno

PASIG--Cafe France-CEU erased a 24-point deficit to get a shock 90-87 win against Caida in the nightcap of the PBA D-League Aspirants Cup doubleheader at the Ynares Sports Arena on Thursday.

The Bakers never gave up despite conceding a 28-52 deficit in the second quarter and launched a 30-6 run that stretched until the third quarter to tie the game, 58-all.

The Tile Masters regained the lead as Philip Paniamogan buried back-to-back triples for a 64-58 count, but an 8-0 Bakers run handed them the advantage, 66-64.

A 7-1 rally by Caida gave the squad the lead anew, 71-67, early in the fourth, but Cafe France responded with eight straight points for a 75-71 cushion.

Chris Javier brought the Tile Masters to within two with a layup, but the Bakers answered with a 10-4 run to up their lead to eight, 85-77, with 3:54 remaining.

Caida then went on a 9-2 run to cut the lead to one, 87-86, with 2:26 left, setting up a down-the-wire finale.

Caida actually had a chance to tie the game as Rod Ebondo only made a split from the free throw line, but Jonathan Grey instead went for a potential go-ahead triple that he missed.

The team again got a chance to move closer as Paul Zamar failed to extend Cafe France's lead with a three-pointer, but Jio Jalalon, a known steady free throw shooter, missed two crucial free throws off a Zamar foul.

Carl Cruz made Jalalon pay for his missed charities by sinking a step-back jumper to increase the lead to four, 90-86, with 1:09 to go.

Javier had a chance to move the Tile Masters closer, but he only made one of two free throws with 34 seconds remaining and the deficit was at three, 87-90.

They, however, got a chance to force overtime when they forced Zamar to a missed shot with 16 seconds left.

But Paniamogan missed back-to-back triples at the final buzzer, giving the Bakers their fourth straight win.

Cruz and Zamar combined for 51 points even as Ebondo had another all-around impression with 18 points, 14 rebounds, two assists, four blocks, and one steal for Cafe France, which is now the solo leader in the team standings.

Paniamogan had 15 points, while Rey Nambatac had a near triple-double of 13 points, nine rebounds, and seven assists along with two steals in a no-turnover game for Caida, which lost for the first time this conference.

Box Scores:

Cafe France-CEU 90-Cruz 26, Zamar 25, Ebondo 18, Jeruta 9, De Leon 8, Villahermosa 3, Manlangit 1, Abundo 0, Arim 0, Casino 0, Celso 0, Opiso 0

Caida 87-Paniamogan 15, Nambatac 13, Perkins 12, Cabrera 11, Jalalon 9, Lozada 7, Grey 6, Javier 6, Corpuz 2, Gabawan 2, Maiquez 2, Robles 2, Terso 0

Quarterscores: 24-23, 40-56, 67-67, 90-87

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