Tanduay snaps Cafe France's perfect run

By Ivan Saldajeno

SAN JUAN, MM--Tanduay handed Cafe France-CEU its first loss in the PBA D-League Aspirants Cup with a 79-74 squeaker at the FilOil Flying V Centre on Monday.

Entering the game as the only unbeaten team in the conference after winning their first five games, the Bakers lost a late ten-point lead as the Rhum Masters waxed hot in the fourth quarter to snatch the win.

Cafe France led, 62-52, with 9:08 remaining in the game when Tanduay went on a 7-0 run to cut the gap to just three with 7:42 left.

The Bakers appeared to have weathered the storm as they responded to every Rhum Masters made baskets midway in the fourth.

But Tanduay scored six straight points to take the lead, 73-70, with 1:06 to go.

Paul Zamar drew Cafe France closer with a pull-up jumper to cut the lead to one, 73-72, with 57 seconds remaining.

Jaypee Belencion made a split from the line to slightly widen the gap to two, 74-72, with 38 seconds left, but Zamar and Carl Cruz missed potential game-tying baskets and Belencion went 2-for-2 in his next trip to the free throw stripe to stretch the Bakers' lead to four, 76-72, with 21 seconds left.

Rod Ebondo made two charities of his own to bring Cafe France to within two anew, 74-76, with the clock only moving by split-seconds.

The team would get another crack at even tying the game when Ryan Wetherell only made one of two freebies with 19 seconds left, but Zamar gave up a bad pass with five seconds remaining.

Von Pessumal iced the game with two free throws.

Reden Celda led Tanduay, which formally booked a seat in the quarterfinals while strengthening its bid for a twice-to-beat advantage in the said round, with 12 points, two rebounds, and one assist off the bench.

Cruz finished with 15 points and five rebounds for Cafe France, which failed in its first chance to book the first twice-to-beat spot.

Box Scores:

Tanduay 79-Celda 12, Belencion 10, Acuña 10, Wetherell 9, Llagas 9, Santos 8, Javillonar 7, Lingganay 6, Pessumal 4, Eriobu 2, Tagarda 2, Gotladera 0, Belleza 0

Cafe France 74-Cruz 15, Ebondo 14, Zamar 13, Opiso 8, Villahermosa 6, Jeruta 6, Abundo 5, De Leon 3, Manlangit 2, Anunciacion 2, Casiño 0

Quarterscores: 22-24, 39-44, 52-57, 79-74

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