Bread Story nearly blew a 22-point third quarter lead but managed to hang on in the end to complete a stunning 79-72 win over CaféFrance and extend their PBA D-League Aspirants’ Cup quarterfinals series to a knockout game yesterday at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig City.
The Smashing Bakers controlled the match early but their 53-31 advantage nearly evaporated in the third through the exploits of the Bakers’ Joseph Sedurifa and Maverick Ahanmisi.
CaféFrance managed to trim Bread Story’s lead inch by inch until a Gelo Alolino basket put the Bakers to within two, 70-68, with 1:56 remaining in the game.
But that proved to be CaféFrance’s last gallant stand as Louie Vigil and Jiovanni Jalalon came through with clutch baskets to repel their rivals’ uprising.
Vigil converted a three-point play on the next possession before Jalalon swiped the ball away from Alolino and scored on a breakaway layup to put the game away as the Smashing Bakers took a 75-68 lead.
“Ang maganda dito, nobody expected as to be here and we surprised a lot of teams, this is a big win,” said Bread Story coach Bonnie Tan.
“They didn’t back down. Hindi nagpasindak yung mga players ko kahit na alam natin na veteran team ang CafeFrance,” he added.
Jalalon and Jackson Corpuz shared the scoring honors for Bread Story by drilling in a game-high 21 points aside from combining for five assists. Joseph Gabayni finished with nine points and eight rebounds,
With center Rod Ebondo slowed down by an ankle injury, Ahanmisi led CaféFrance with 14 points, 10 rebounds and five assists.
Ebondo was held scoreless in just under five minutes of play.
The knockout game between the two teams is set on Monday in the same venue.
BREAD STORY-LPU 79 – Jalalon 21, Jalalon 21, Gabayni 9, Baltazar 5, Mbomiko 5, Daquioag 5, Vigil 5, Lao 3, Bangga 3, Taladua 2, Gamboa 0, Zamora 0, Bulawan 0.
CAFÉFRANCE 72 – Ahanmisi 14, Sedurifa 12, Alolino 10, Cruz 8, Noble 6, Batino 6, Andrada 5, Jeruta 4, De Leon 4, Abundo 2, Galanza 1, Celso 0, Cortez 0, Ebondo 0.
Quarters: 18-18; 46-31; 58-52;79-72.