by Christian Jacinto
Games Monday (JCSGO Gym, Quezon City)
12 nn – Cafe France vs Jumbo Plastic
2 p.m. – Blackwater vs Boracay Rum
4 p.m. – Big Chill vs NU-BDO
Manila, Philippines – CaféFrance survived some scary moments before hacking out a 70-67 win over Cebuana Lhullier for its first win yesterday in the PBA D-League Aspirants Cup at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig City.
With the game tightly contested in the fourth quarter, the Bakers went to Eliud Poligrates and the 5’10 guard from Cebu scored eight crucial baskets in the fourth, including back-to-back three pointers that gave them a 66-59 cushion with barely a minute left in the game.
The Bakers, however, had to surpass some anxious moments as they saw their lead trim to just three as Cebuana’s Paul Zamar sparked the Gems’ counterattack.
Poligrantes nearly turned from hero to goat as he missed two potential game-clinching free throws which gave the Gems one more shot at tying the game.
But Ping Exciminiano made a key defensive stop as he forced Rex Leynes to turn the ball that helped Bakers seal the win.
Poligrantes led the Bakers with 24 points, six rebounds and four assists while Knuttel finished in double-double with 12 points and 10 assists. Mike Parala and Exciminiano added nine points apiece for the Bakers who rebounded from an 83-74 loss to Cagayan in their opener.
In other games, former NCAA Juniors MVP winner Joshua Saret scored 12 of his 15 points in the second half as M-Builders spoiled the debut of Wangs Basketball Couriers, 76-74, former PBA player Francis Allera tallied 25 points as Hogsbreath, downed Arellano-Air 21, 80-69.