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PBA DL: CafeFrance guns for twice-to-beat

Games Today (JCSGO gym, Cubao)
2 p.m. – AMA vs Tanduay
4 p.m. – Phoenix vs CaféFrance

Mon Alvin Abondo of Cafe France Bakers dribbles the ball as he sets his teammates during their match against AMA University Online Education in Ynares Sports Arena, July 28, 2016.Defending champion CaféFrance eyes another win over Phoenix today and secure a twice-to-beat advantage in the semifinals of the PBA D-League Foundation Cup at the JCGSO gym in Cubao, Quezon City.

The Bakers hold the psychological advantage over the Accelerators entering their 4 p.m. match after needing a five-minute overtime period to prevail 96-93 last July 21 at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig City.

Despite that, CaféFrance coach Egay Macaraya expects another tough match since Phoenix is also in dire need of a victory to keep its own bid for a twice-to-beat bonus alive.

“We have to win versus Phoenix before anything else. I guess mag-aaway kami para doon sa top two,” said Macaraya, whose Bakers are in second place at 8-2, half-game behind leader Racal (9-2).

Phoenix warmed up for today’s match last Tuesday by routing Blustar Detergent, 108-83. Accelerators coach Eric Gonzales feels that his boys can make up for their loss to the Bakers in their first meeting.

“We have to play it like a championship game. Di kami pwedeng matamlay so we have to build on our game,” said Gonzales.

Carl Bryan Cruz, who starred in CafeFrance’s win over Phoenix, is expected to lead the squad alongside Rod Ebondo, Mon Abundo, and Paul Zamar.

Phoenix will be led by Mac Belo, who scored 23 points against Blustar, Roger Pogoy, Russell Escoto, and Mike Tolomia.

In the 2 p.m. opener, Tanduay eyes a morale-booster before the semis against AMA, which will be led by James Martinez who set a new league record of 58 points in Tuesday’s 125-76 rout of Topstar ZC Mindanao. (Jonas Terrado)