JAI REYES stabilized Fruitas in the absence of its San Beda players as the Shakers debuted in the PBA D-League Aspirants Cup with an 88-82 win over Café France on Thursday at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig City.
Reyes scored 21 points, grabbed five rebounds, and had seven assists in his first and only game with the team as the former Ateneo court general led the Shakers' auspicious debut in the developmental league.
Reyes is set to leave for Vietnam to play with a team in the Asean Basketball League. Interestingly, he wore the No. 1 jersey.
“Malaking bagay si Jai,” said Fruitas coach Nash Racela. “Actually, he stabilized our team. We really didn’t want to give him so much minutes pero kailangan eh.”
Fruitas tapped Reyes to play for one game as its players from San Beda, with whom it has a tie-up agreement, were unavailable until after Game Three of the NCAA men’s basketball finals against Letran on Friday.
Nigerian Ola Adeogun, Rome Dela Rosa, and Art Dela Cruz are expected to beef up Fruitas’ lineup after the NCAA wars.
“With five full practices, magulo kami sa loob pero we were able to adjust very quickly,” said Racela, who just weeks ago coached Talk ‘N Text in the PBA in lieu of former Ateneo coach Norman Black.
Carlo Lastimosa had 16 points and eight rebounds while Martin Antonio had 12 points in nine minutes for Fruitas. Gene Belleza had 11 points while Jan Colina added 11 points and 10 rebounds.
Michael Parala and Jens Knuttel had 22 and 18 points, respectively, for Cafe France.
Fruitas (88) – Reyes 21, Lastimosa 16, Antonio 12, Belleza 11, Colina 11, Paguia 7, Hernandez 4, Escueta 4, Erioubu 2, Terso 0.
Café France (82) – Parala 22, Knuttel 18, Pogoy 13, Mendoza 9, Jamon 7, Padilla 7, Magat 4, Batino 2, Garcia 0, Magbitang 0, Antipuesto 0.
Quarterscores: 21-17; 45-44; 63-56; 88-82.