MANILA, Philippines – Cafe France stays in the hunt for the PBA D-League Foundation Cup championship after defeating the Hapee Fresh Fighters, 76-70, in the physical second game of the tournament finals on Monday, June 22, at the Ynares Sports Arena.
In a contest that saw a confrontation, ejections of team managers, and technical fouls in the fourth period, Cafe France nearly blew a double-digit lead with over 9 minutes to go before hitting enough critical shots down the stretch of the game to seal the victory.
Samboy De Leon finished with 14 points and 3 3-pointers while Alfred Batino and Rod Ebondo pitched in 11 and 10 points, respectively, in the win, to force the first ever Game 3 in PBA D-League finals history.
Ateneo Blue Eagles product Chris Newsome led the Fresh Fighters with 15 points while San Beda Red Lion Art Dela Cruz registered 14 markers. Troy Rosario also played well with 13 points.
A 10-4 run by Hapee that was capped off by 3 straight points from Newsome trimmed Cafe France’s lead to 66-60 with 6:14 remaining in the game.
After both teams exchanged baskets over the next few possessions, a clutch triple by Eliud Poligrates extended Cafe France’s lead back up to 10, 72-62.
At the 2:51 mark, a hard foul by Batino on Dela Cruz yielded a commotion that took place inside the playing court. The result were ejections for team managers Jun Tongco of Cafe France and Bernard Yang of Hapee due to “flagrant misconduct”, and technical fouls for Ola Adeogun (“disrespectfully addressing a game official”), JP Mendoza, and Michael Miranda.
An and-one play by Newsome inched his team closer anew, 73-67, with 1:34 to go, but a Poligrates basket after a Cafe France time-out on the next play sealed the win.
San Beda stars Baser Amer and Adeogun were held to 3 and 0 points, respectively.
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