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CaféFrance in semis

Games Thursday (JCSGO Gym)
1 pm. – AMA University vs MP Hotel
3 p.m. – Liver Marin vs Jumbo Plastic

CaféFrance capitalized on a strong first half in an 83-72 victory against Jumbo Plastic on Monday and the Bakers clinched the second outright semifinal berth in the PBA D-League Foundation Cup at The Arena in San Juan.

The Bakers led by as many as 23 points then held off a late charge by the Giants to secure their second straight Final Four appearance this season by closing out the elimination round with a 7-2 mark. CaféFrance was swept in the semifinals last conference by eventual Aspirants’ Cup champion Hapee.

Jumbo Plastic could still make it to the playoffs despite picking up its fourth loss in seven games but blew its chances for a better position.

Baser Amer connected on a floater with 16.3 seconds remaining as Hapee snapped Cebuana Lhuillier’s seven-game winning streak with a thrilling 71-70 decision in the second game.

Amer, who came off the bench, eventually finished with 18 points. Troy Rosario had 15 and Ray Parks Jr. added 12 for the Fresh Fighters, who tied idle Cagayan Valley at third and fourth spots and enhanced their chances for a twice to beat advantage in the quarterfinals with a 5-3 record.

“For us it’s a question of will to survive. I’m just glad they showed their character against the best team in the league right now,” said Hapee coach Ronnie Magsanoc.

The Gems (7-1), who rallied from 19-points down in the first half, took a 70-69 lead with a 7-0 run late in the fourth. They had a chance to win it after Amer’s basket but Mo Tautuaa dribbled away too much time and Almond Vosotros lost the ball against a double-team defense.

“I thought the team keeps on improving. Management is happy with what we achieve today. With our first goal done, our next goal is to try and win a championship. It wouldn’t be easy but if we continue to improve and play as a team it’s not impossible,” said CaféFrance coach Egay Macaraya.

Eloy Poligrates tallied 16 points off the bench, Maverick Ahanmisi had 14 while Bong Galanza and Samboy De Leon contributed 13 apiece for the Bakers, used a balanced scoring and strong offensive rebounding in the first half to dominate the Giants.

Rodrigue Ebondo grabbed 12 rebounds as Café France dominated the boards, 60-32.

CaféFrance 83 – Poligrates 16, Ahanmisi 14, Galanza 13, De Leon 13, Sedurifa 7, Ebondo 6, Batino 5, Jeruta 3, Andrada 3, Cortez 3, Miranda 0, Abundo 0.

Jumbo Plastic 72 – Paniamogan 21, Khobuntin 14, Sanga Paul 12, Tiongson 7, Eguillos 4, Perez 4, Villamor 4, Mandani 4, Arellano 2, Purdy 0, Almario 0, Avillanoza 0.

Quarters: 19-11; 41-27; 60-39; 83-72.

Hapee 71 – Amer 18, Rosario 15, Parks 12, Dela Cruz 8, Adeogun 6, Thompson 5, Elorde 2, Long 0, Vilahermosa 0, Romero 0, Koga 0.

Cebuana Lhuillier 70 – Mangahas 17, Tautuaa 15, Cabrera 9, Vosotros 9, Corpuz 7, Torres 5, Enciso 4, Zamar 4, Bautista 0, Sarangay 0, Van Opstal 0.

Quarters: 18-14; 42-30; 55-52; 71-70.