CafeFrance stays alive after serving up comeback win against Racal

Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Mar 23, 2017 07:19 PM
CafeFrance stays alive after serving up comeback win
NO QUIT. Rod Ebondo and Aaron Jeruta kept CafeFrance alive and kicking in the PBA D-League Aspirants Cup.

Racal was in complete control against CafeFrance on Thursday in Pasig City’s Ynares Sports Arena.

Then the fourth quarter came around and the tides just turned.

Trailing for three quarters and still by nine to begin the final frame, graduating guard Aaron Jeruta generated a massive surge that pushed the Bakers to an impressive come-from-behind 86-75 victory versus the Tile Masters.

With the come-from-behind win, Egay Macaraya’s wards forced a do-or-die Game Three in the semifinal series between the two teams in the 2017 PBA D-League Aspirants’ Cup. It’s scheduled for Tuesday still in the same venue.

CafeFrance was on the verge of getting swept as its lethargic play dug for it a hole as deep as 14 points in the third quarter. “I guess it’s Aaron, he stepped up. He’s the only veteran and this was his breakthrough game,” Macaraya said.

Without a doubt, Jeruta wasn’t letting that happen and pumped in 12 of his conference-high 18 points in the pivotal period. After turning in his best performance, he said, “Sobrang nagpapasalamat ako kasi wala pa akong magandang nilaro, pero binigyan pa rin ako ng chance ni coach Egay na magpakita.”

There, the Bakers went on an 18-8 run capped off by their graduating guard’s short stab to get their first taste of the lead, 70-69. “Thank God na nakapag-deliver ako,” he expressed later on.

Jackson Corpuz then took back the advantage for Racal in the ensuing possession only to see Jeruta connive with Rod Ebondo for all but three points in CafeFrance’s 15-5 game-ending charge to complete the comeback.

Ebondo ended with another monster 25-point, 22-rebound double-double alongside six blocks to help lift the Bakers into evening the best-of-three series at one win apiece.

On the other hand, the Tile Masters will have to shoot for their first-ever Finals the next time around despite having five players in double-digits. Rey Nambatac topped the scoring column for them with 14 points.

BOX SCORES

CAFEFRANCE 86 - Ebondo 25, Jeruta 18, Casino 9, Desiderio 8, Manlangit 8, Sedurifa 7, Calisaan 6, Faundo 5, Arim 0.

RACAL 75 - Nambatac 14, Corpuz 12, Mangahas 12, torres 11, Cabrera 10, Salado 8, Flores 4, Onwubere 4, Capacio 0, Dagangon 0, Gabawan 0, Gabayni 0, Terso 0.

QUARTER SCORES: 15-20, 33-43, 52-61, 86-75.

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