CAFE France almost squandered a huge lead but recovered just in time to hammer out an 83-67 win over Tanduay in the PBA D-League Aspirants' Cup at the Ynares Sports Arena on Monday.
New acquisition Mike Calisaan stepped up big time for the Bakers, finishing with 23 points including 16 in the third period.
In the penultimate quarter, the Bakers were holding a comfortable 26-point lead but saw the Rhum Masters employ full court pressure defense to cut the deficit down to six, 69-63, after Mark Cruz jumper early in the fourth period.
But Rod Ebondo, who had 15 points and 12 rebounds, retaliated with a three-point play and the Bakers seized control from there.
Paul Desiderio also made a good account of himself in his debut, scoring 16 points.
"Yung nga recruits ko nag-step up and yun yung positive dun. Sana magtuloy-tuloy and mag-jell yung team," said Cafe France coach Egay Macaraya.
Bong Quinto paced Tanduay with 12 points, while Mark Cruz, Raffy Reyes, and Paul Sanga added 11 points each.
CAFE FRANCE 83 - Calisaan 23, Desiderio 16, Ebondo 15, Casino 9, Gabriel 4, Jeruta 4, Arim 3, Faundo 3, Manlangit 3, Wamar 3, Aquino 0, Guinitaran 0, Veron 0.
TANDUAY 67 - Quinto 12, Cruz 11, Reyes 11, Sanga 11, Eguilos 6, Moralde 6, Santos 4, Cenal 2, Ibay 2, Sollano 2, Palma 0.
Quarters: 21-28, 43-30, 65-53, 83-67.