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Cebuana, CaféFrance win

Games Thursday Ynares Arena (Pasig City)
2 p.m. – Hapee vs CaféFrance
4 p.m. – Cagayan Valley vs Cebuana Lhuillier

Paul Zamar made the big plays in the closing seconds to lift Cebuana Lhuillier to a repeat 85-81 win against fourth seed Jumbo Plastic yesterday in the rubber match of their PBA D-League Aspirants’ Cup quarterfinal match up at the Arena in San Juan.

Third seed CaféFrance avoided the upset axe in the other quarterfinal, rallying in the quarter for an 81-68 victory in its do-or-die match against newcomer Bread Story-Lyceum.

Aaron Jeruta scored a game-high 22 points in only his second start for the Bakers, who outscored the Pirates, 31-14, in the decisive third and went on to join top seed Cagayan Valley, no. 2 Hapee and Cebuana Lhuillier in the semifinals.

“Our guards stepped up today. I thought our desire showed up today,” said CaféFrance coach Egay Macaraya.

The Pirates enjoyed a 42-37 lead at the half but lost their grip due to poor shooting in the second half.

The best-of-three series start on Thursday with Bakers facing the Fresh Fighters at 2 p.m. and Gems battling the Rising Suns at 4 o’clock.

Zamar scored all is eight points in the fourth quarter and his free throw with 82 seconds remaining broke a 79-79 count and put the Gems ahead to stay. He capped his late game heroics with an assists to Norberto Torres for an open jumper then sank two more foul shots extend the lead to 84-79 with 24 seconds left.

“I thought the players responded well to the challenge. They kept their discipline and never gave up when Jumbo threatened to steal the game,” said Cebuana Lhuillier coach Boycie Zamar.

Norberto Torres tallied 17 point. Allan Mangahas added 15, Simon Enciso and Almond Vosotros had 12 apiece and Kevin Ferrer chipped in 10 for the Gems, who become just the second fifth seed to advance in the Final Four

Philip Paniamogan tallied 15 points for the Giants, who were eliminated for the second time in this conference with a twice-to-beat advantage. Jumbo Plastic lost to Blackwater last season.

Cebuana shot 59 percent from the field (16 of 27) in the first half and led 51-40 lead at the break. But the Giants made a run in the third as big men Maclean Sabilina, Jaymo Eguilos and Denise Villamor picked up their offensive rhythm.