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CaféFrance erupted for 33 points in the third quarter to ward off Jose Rizal University, 86-75, and secure a semifinals berth yesterday in the PBA D-League Aspirants’ Cup quarterfinals at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig City.
JK Casino, Rod Ebondo and Michael Calisaan combined for 27 points in that period as the Bakers erased a 38-32 halftime deficit to take the lead, before Paul Desiderio and newly-acquired Joseph Sedurifa led the way in scuttling the comeback bids of the Heavy Bombers in the payoff period to seal the win.
Ebondo had 16 points and 11 rebounds while Desiderio likewise scored 16 for CaféFrance, which will take on the Racal Tile Masters in a best-of-three semifinal series which starts next week.
Casino and Sedurifa, who returned to the Bakers after being released by Batangas before the deadline for free agent signings, each made 15 points while Calisaan chipped in nine.
Teytey Teodoro’s 18 points were not enough to give JRU a chance of forcing a rubber match with CaféFrance, which entered the quarters carrying a twice-to-beat advantage.
Meanwhile, Tanduay was playing AMA Online Education at presstime, needing just one win to reach the semis.
The winner of this quarters bracket advances to meet Cignal-San Beda in the best-of-three semis. The Hawkeyes topped the elimination round with an 8-1 record.
CAFÉFRANCE 86 – Desiderio 16, Ebondo 16, Casino 15, Sedurifa 15, Calisaan 9, Faundo 6, Arim 3, Wamar 2, Jeruta 2, Manlangit 2, Aquino 0, Guinitaran 0, Veron 0.
JRU 75 – Teodoro 18, Bautista 14, Ambuludto 10, De la Virgen 8, Marquez 8, Publico 7, Lasquety 6, Poutouochi 4, Astilla 0.
Quarters: 15-22; 32-38; 65-55; 86-75.