Café France Bakers showed their heart of a champion after overcoming a late game scare from Racal Tile Masters, 83-79, in a foul-marred but exciting game in the PBA D-League Foundation Cup on Wednesday at the JCSGO Gym in Cubao, Quezon City.
Despite being comfortably ahead in the first 3 quarters, the Bakers had to lean on Aaron Jeruta and Paul Zamar timely baskets as the Tile Masters’ shooters came scorching hot down the stretch.
“Hinabol na kami, nag-go small na kami, so I guess they showed character na ayaw talaga nila magpatalo,” said Bakers head Egay Macaraya, referring to the crucial 4th quarter where they lost most of their bigs.
Import Rod Ebondo managed to finish with 15 points and 6 rebounds before fouling out while Jeruta and Zamar combined for 22 points, 12 in the crunchtime.
Citing his wards early explosion in the 1st quarter as a crucial recipe for their victory, Macaraya couldn’t help but compare Racal to an NBA champion squad in terms of their ability to score in an instant.
“Tingnan mo naman yung offensive power nila, para bang Golden State na anytime pwedeng humabol,” said Macaraya.
Philip Paniamogan led the fightback for Racal, collecting 24 points in the process while Raphael Banal and Jonathan Grey had 13 and 10, respectively in a losing effort.
The Bakers got a share of top spot with last conference tormentor Phoenix Accelarators, who also got their campaign going after crushing Topstar ZC Mindanao Aguilas in the first game, 108-78. – By Jason Mercene
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