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PBA DL: CaféFrance eyes finals

CaféFrance Wand Hapee Toothpaste try to forge a title duel as they go for a sweep of their respective semis series today in Game 2 of the PBA D-League Foundation Cup semifinals at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig City.

The Bakers will be seeking for their first finals appearance when they clash with the Cagayan-Gerry’s Rising Suns in the first game at 1 p.m. while the Fresh Fighters will be gunning for a second straight finals appearance against the Cebuana Lhuillier Gems at 3 p.m.

Both teams are fully motivated following their inspiring victories in the opening of their best-of-three series.

Through the efforts of Rod Ebondo and Maverick Ahanmisi, the Bakers held the Rising Suns to just 28 percent shooting on their way to a 78-65 victory, closing in on the franchise’s first finals appearance since joining the league as one of its original members in 2011.

“First time ito. Sana. Alam naman natin na paminsan minsan lang to and when the opportunity knocks, kailangan kunin na namin,” said CaféFrance Coach Egay Macaraya.

Not new to winning, Hapee is out to expedite its entry to the finals after frustrating top seed Cebuana, 82-71.

Overcoming fatigue, injuries and the absence of key players due to national team duties, Hapee Coach Ronnie Magsanoc managed to pull another trick off his sleeve to beat Cebuana for the second time this conference.

Despite the absence of Earl Thompson, Baser Amer and Troy Rosario, who are in Singapore for the Southeast Asian Games, along with top guns Bobby Ray Parks and Garvo Lanete for various reasons, the Fresh Fighters found heroes in the San Beda tandem of Ola Adeogun and Art Dela Cruz.

Dela Cruz had 23 points, nine rebounds, seven assists and four steals while Adeogun finished with 24 points and 15 boards.

“Siguro wala naman masama kung magdasal ka ulit at humiling ka, basta pagtrabahuhan mo. I think good things come to those who work really hard,” said Magsanoc.

Magsanoc, however, is wary of a big Cebuana fightback with the Gems’ top mainstay Moala Tautuaa expecting to suit up.

Tautuaa was taken out on a stretcher in Game 1 after suffering an ankle sprain in the third quarter.

“Now the real test of character (will be in this game). Definitely we’ll bounce back and we won’t back down. Hindi mo pwedeng idahilan ang kalawang kasi this is your job as a basketball player. I don’t want to make any excuses. We’re coming back,” said Cebuana Coach Boycie Zamar. (Christian Jacinto)