Proven to be a dangerous squad even in the face of a huge deficit, defending champion Café France surmounted a comeback in the payoff period only to be foiled by Phoenix-FEU at the end of Game 1 of the PBA D-League Finals.
“We only played in the 4th quarter, we did not play until the 4th,” described Macaraya, as the Bakers absorbed just their 2nd loss in the Aspirant’s Cup.
True enough, the Bakers struggled in the field in the first 3 quarters but came with fire in the decisive final canto that trimmed down Phoenix’s lead to 3 entering the last 2 minutes.
With the trio combo of Mac Belo, RR Pogoy, and Russell Escoto clicking early, the Accelarators erected a 20-point lead midway in the 3rd that proved to be too much for the back-to-back title-seeking Cafe France.
“Hopefully we could have a good start in the next game. As I’ve said, yung basketball namin was in the 4th quarter lang. Ganun lang kasimple,” said Macaraya.
Taking the series opener loss as a lesson, Macaraya rued the mindset of the team heading into this best-of-five affair.
“Gusto pa rin namin ng championship but parang naging overachiever na yung iniisip nila going in the championship (series),” he said.
Leaning to their import Rod Ebondo, streaky shooters Paul Zamar and Mon Abundo for scoring production, the Bakers will try to figure out how to stop Belo and company in Game 2.
“Nakita naman natin I don’t have the bench to compensate Belo and Pogoy right now and hopefully magbabago,” said Macaraya, while also noting that an extended series might not go in favor of his team.
But the coach remained confident with his players as they try to even the series on Tuesday.
“I see something and it would be different in the second game,” Macaraya said. – By Jason Mercene
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