Rod Ebondo posted a double-double while Mike Parala scored a key jumper late as defending champion CaféFrance held on to beat Racal, 78-72, last night in the PBA D-League Foundation Cup at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig City.
Ebondo unleashed his dominance in the paint by posting 22 points and 15 rebounds while Parala’s off-the-glass jumper gave the Bakers a 77-72 lead with 18.3 seconds left, foiling the Tile Masters’ comeback attempt in the homestretch.
Mon Abundo chipped in 16 points and four rebounds while Carl Bryan Cruz added 13 points before being ejected in the third quarter for elbowing Racal’s Dexter Maiquez as CaféFrance improved to 5-1 for second place behind unbeaten Phoenix (5-0).
“The boys played good defense. Racal is a very good offensive team, but maganda ang nilaro ng mga bata and they cannot stop Ebondo,” said coach Egay Macaraya, whose team snapped Racal’s three-game winning run.
The Bakers appeared to be heading for a comfortable victory when Aaron Jeruta scored to make it 75-65 with 1:41 remaining in the contest.
But Racal scored seven straight points in less than a minute, capping off with a Chris Javier basket that put the Tile Masters within 75-72 with 55 ticks left.
Parala, however, saved the day for CaféFrance when his scored the key jumper with 18 seconds to go.
Jonathan Grey carried Racal (4-2) with 12 points, two rebounds, and two assists, while Philip Paniamogan had 11 markers in the defeat.