Racal rallies by CafeFrance, all the way to first-ever Finals

Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Mar 28, 2017 05:42 PM
Racal rallies by CafeFrance all the way to first-ever Finals
HISTORY. Racal will be playing in the first championship round in its three-year history.

After falling short many times, Racal has finally busted through to the Finals, now in the 2017 PBA D-League Aspirants Cup.

And the third-year franchise has unheralded veterans Allan Mangahas and Jackson Corpuz to thank for that.

Mangahas caught fire in the final frame, Corpuz joined him there, and the two fueled the Tile Masters past CafeFrance, 78-74, on Tuesday in Pasig City’s Ynares Sports Arena.

Racal’s bad luck in the semifinals looked to be still in effect as the Bakers took control of the contest right from tip-off. “Naging timely rin yung bunot ko,” head coach Jerry Codinera said, talking about his game-changing adjustment.

Still down by one entering the final frame, however, Mangahas buried three triples in a row that suddenly put the Tile Masters on top, 62-54.

Rod Ebondo then carried CafeFrance and tied the tally at 69 only to see Corpuz go on a personal 6-3 run that regained the lead for Racal, 75-72.

Ebondo again pulled the Bakers within one before Mangahas sealed the deal once and for all with another trey. “I just trusted them. Buti na lang I picked the right people for the endgame,” Codinera said.

Mangahas wound up with 15 points, all but three coming in the fourth, while Corpuz chipped in nine markers of his own, also all but three coming in the fourth.

Kent Salado also had 16 points to help the Tile Masters in their breakthrough. They now await the winner between Cignal-San Beda College and Tanduay.

Racal doesn’t have much time to celebrate as the best-of-three Finals commences on Thursday still at the same venue.

For the Bakers, Rod Ebondo posted 26 points. Going cold in the endgame, however, their campaign comes to a close.

BOX SCORES

RACAL 78 – Salado 16, Mangahas 15, Nambatac 11, Onwubere 10, Corpuz 9, Capacio 5, Dagangon 5, Cabrera 5, Flores 2, Torres 0, Gabawan 0, Terso 0, Gabayni 0

CAFEFRANCE 74 – Ebondo 26, Desiderio 16, Sedurifa 11, Faundo 8, Calisaan 4, Jeruta 3, Manlangit 3, Casino 2, Arim 1, Wamar 0

QUARTER SCORES: 14-20, 32-34, 51-52, 78-74

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