Carl Bryan Cruz helped Cafe France seize the top spot in the 2016 PBA D-League Foundation Cup with a huge 96-93 overtime win over Phoenix Thursday at Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig.
The former FEU Tamaraw scored nine of his 15 points in the extra period to help the Bakers take the top spot with their 7-2 record.
“Ang importante coming into the Final Four if given a chance, makuha namin yung top two,” said coach Egay Macaraya. “Masyadong short yung liga so hopefully, makuha namin sa dulo.”
A baseline drive from Cruz gave Cafe France a 92-85 lead with 1:06 left, but Mike Tolomia and Roger Pogoy refused to let go, hitting big threes to carry Phoenix back within one, 94-93 with 8.5 ticks remaining.
Paul Zamar, though, canned both of his freebies with 5.1 seconds left to push Cafe France up, 96-93, as Tolomia missed his game-tying three in the end.
Rod Ebondo netted a double-double with his 15 markers, 16 rebounds, and four blocks, while Zamar also scored 15 in the rematch of the Foundation Cup Finals.
Mon Abundo chipped in 13 markers, five dimes, and four boards, while Aaron Jeruta got 12 points and five rebounds.
Phoenix fell to a tie for second place with Racal at 7-2.
Pogoy anchored the Accelerators with 26 points on a 5-of-10 shooting from threes, alongside 10 rebounds, while Tolomia got 16 markers, seven boards, and six assists, including the three freebies in regulation to tie the game at 79 and force overtime.
Ed Daquioag also registered 16 points and five rebounds in the loss.
Phoenix played without Mac Belo, who sat the game out due to a sprained ankle.
In the first game, AMA Online Education scored its second win, downing Topstar ZC Mindanao, 109-84.
The Titans rose to a 2-5 slate, while the Aguilas remained winless in nine outings.
Rashawn McCarthy topped AMA with 24 points, eight rebounds, and six assists, while Ryan Arambulo also registered 24 markers, three boards, and three dimes.
Jay-R Taganas almost netted a triple-double with his 17 points, 18 rebounds, and eight assists.
Titans coach Mark Herrera is still positive of his team’s chances to make it to the top four.
“Sana kung magtuloy-tuloy yung magandang laro namin, magkakaroon pa kami ng chance na manalo. Pwede pa naman kami makahabol,” he said.
Starting with a 16-4 salvo, AMA slowly saw its lead dissipate, before once again catching that offensive thunder with a 30-point third quarter explosion which paved the way to a lead as high as 29, 103-74.
Dexter Garcia carried Topstar ZC Mindanao with 25 points.
AMA 109 – Arambulo 24, McCarthy 24, Taganas 17, Martinez 14, Asuncion 12, Macaranas 7, Jordan 4, Belleza 3, Bragais 2, Jo. Montemayor 2, Carpio 0, Dizon 0, Je. Montemayor 0, Ortega 0.
TOPSTAR ZC MINDANAO 84 – Garcia 25, Jumao-as 15, Cawaling 12, Ongteco 8, Julkipli 7, Argamino 5, Rivera 5, Ignacio 4, Rono 3, Onde 0, Santos 0, Tano 0.
Quarters: 30-19, 42-41, 72-62, 109-84.
CAFE FRANCE 96 – Cruz 15, Ebondo 15, Zamar 15, Abundo 13, Jeruta 12, Opiso 6, Parala 6, Custodio 5, Casino 4, Manlangit 3, Arim 2.
PHOENIX 93 – Pogoy 26, Daquioag 16, Tolomia 16, Escoto 11, Inigo 10, Jamito 6, Mendoza 5, Colina 2, Batino 1, Andrada 0, Tamsi 0.
Quarters: 19-21, 42-35, 59-57, 79-79, 96-93.