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PBA DL: Phoenix advances to finals

BACOOR, Cavite – Mike Tolomia put on a show in front of a big crowd as Phoenix booked the first finals berth by dethroning CaféFrance, 89-78, yesterday in the PBA D-League Foundation Cup semifinals at the Strike gym here.

Tolomia scored a game-high 31 points, spiked by five triples and several dazzling layups to help the Accelerators dominate the Bakers and earn a return trip to the championship series of the PBA’s developmental tournament.

“Take-charge, ayaw nga niyang magpa-sub e. Sabi niya tiisin na niya lang. Winner’s attitude,” said Phoenix coach Eric Gonzales.
Mac Belo played the supporting role with 15 points and 14 rebounds, even as Ed Daquioag and Roger Pogoy added 12 and 11 markers, respectively, for Phoenix in avenging Thursday’s 78-68 loss that forced a rubber match.

“Ayoko maulit yung nangyari sa amin nung last game. Maganda yung start namin tas biglang nung second half kami pa yung natambakan,” Tolomia said, referring to Phoenix wasting a 42-34 third quarter lead in the first meeting.

Phoenix, eyeing another title after its conquest of the Aspirants Cup last April, will face either Racal or Tanduay in a best-of-three series that starts tomorrow at the Alonte Sports Arena in Binan, Laguna.

The Tile Masters and the Rhum Masters were playing at presstime. Tanduay forced a rubber match with an 88-86 victory, also last Thursday.

Rod Ebondo was the lone bright spot for CafeFrance with 25 points and 19 rebounds as Carl Bryan Cruz struggled with just seven points, missing four of five shots.

PHOENIX 89 – Tolomia 31, Belo 15, Daquioag 12, Pogoy 11, Tamsi 9, Escoto 5, Andrada 2, Jamito 2, Batino 1, Mendoza 1, Colina 0, Inigo 0, Knuttel 0.

CAFÉFRANCE 78 – Ebondo 25, Abundo 10, Cruz 7, Jeruta 6, Opiso 6, Casino 5, Zamar 4, Custodio 4, De Leon 4, Manlangit 4, Parala 2.

Quarters: 27-19; 45-40; 71-58; 89-78.