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Bakers pip Banco de Oro

by Christian Jacinto

Games Tomorrow (Ynares Sports Arena, Pasig City)
2 p.m. – Arellano-Air 21 vs Boracay Rum
4 p.m. – Derulo vs Wangs Basketball

Josan Nimes scored five straight points off the bench and Café France rallied in the second half to beat struggling Banco de Oro, 74-69, on Tuesday in the PBA DLeague Aspirants’ Cup at the Blue Eagle Gym.

The Bakers, who rebounded from an 87-94 loss to Big Chill last week, improved to 4-3 (winloss) record to stay in contention for a playoff spot.

“Josan (Nimes) is an integral part of our offense so hopefully he will stay healthy until the remainder of our campaign. He’s still hurting and I’m just glad he was able to play long minutes and give us a lift,” said Café France coach Egay Macaraya of his shooting guard, who is suffering from back spasm.

In the second game, James Martinez hit two 3-point shots in the fourth quarter as Cebuana Lhuillier Gems held off the rallying Boracay Rum Waves, 68-66, to snap a three-game skid.

Martinez, who took all his shots from behind the arc in the fourth quarter, made 2 of 4 attempts. His first trey tied the count at 59- all and his last trey of the day put the Gems ahead to for good, 66-65 with 85 seconds remaining.

Martinez eventually finished with 15 points. Roi Sumang contributed 12 while Philip Paredes added 10 and 12 rebounds as Cebuana improved to 2-6.

“This is our last game for the year. We have a lot of catching up to do. Hopefully, the one month break will help us improve on our game,” said Cebuana coach Boyzie Zamar.

It was another heartbreaker for the Waves, who picked up its third straight loss and fell to 2-5.

After trailing for three quarters, Boracay Rum appeared headed for the victory when Mark Belo scored on a layup that gave the Waves a 59-54 lead with 7:13 to play.

But they went scoreless in the next five minutes with guard Chris Banchero committing four of Baracay Rum’s five turnover in the fourth period on passing errors.

Mac Montilla broke the fourth and last deadlock and put Café France ahead to stay, 58-56, with two free throws with 6:59 left in the fourth.

Then Nimes checked, hit a jumper and followed it with a 3-pointer as the Bakers stretched the lead nine points.

“This is a big win for us. It kept us close behind the leaders and somehow keep us in contention for the playoffs. Hopefully we could build on this,” said Macaraya, who played Mike Parala and Mark Sarangay sparingly because the two veteran big men couldn’t keep with the pace.

Joshua Alolino tallied 13 points, four assists and two steals for Banco de Oro, which played without Bobby Ray Parks Jr. The Bulldog star showed up in street clothes with back spasms.

Banco de Oro controlled the first half and led 41-33 early in the third but couldn’t close out the game.