BIG CHILL took a big step towards a twice-to-beat advantage in the quarterfinals when the Superchargers beat Café France, 76-71, on Tuesday in the PBA D-League Aspirants Cup at The Arena in San Juan.
The Superchargers ended their elimination round with a 6-4 win-loss record, joining Cagayan Valley in third place. Nailing the coveted quarterfinal incentive, however, isn’t in their hands with idle Jose Rizal University (5-4) still very much in contention.
No. 1 NLEX and No. 2 Blackwater have secured outright semifinal berths, while the next four teams play in the quarterfinals. The teams ending up Nos. 3 and 4 will have twice-to-beat advantages over the teams finishing fifth and sixth.
Big Chill will only gain a twice-to-beat advantage in the quarterfinals if Cebuana Lhuillier defeats Jose Rizal University on Thursday at the Ynares Sports Arena.
If JRU wins, however, the Heavy Bombers will join Cagayan Valley and Big Chill in a three-way tie but the Superchargers will be relegated to fifth seed due to an inferior quotient.
Big Chill’s win came after being stunned by cellar dweller Informatics, forcing the Superchargers to pass through a complicated route to the quarterfinals.
“The players really wanted to get back on the winning running especially that we are hitting the quarterfinals,” said Big Chill coach Robert Sison. “Marami nang naghahabol na team sa baba, we were pressured to win and I’m happy that the players responded.”
The Superchargers won despite missing Terrence Romeo, who sustained a slight hairline fracture in his right hand in their loss to the Icons.
Ryan Buenafe scored nine of his 14 points in a pivotal second period that pulled Big Chill to a 47-28 lead.
The largest Big Chill lead was at 21 but it had to endure several Café France runs in the second half to grab the victory.
Roger Pogoy led a spirited Café France comeback, scoring all of his 10 points in the fourth. He cut Big Chill’s lead to four points, 67-63, with five minutes left. But Arvie Bringas countered with five of his nine markers in the remaining moments of the game to hold off Café France.
Café France wrapped up its campaign with a 4-6 slate. The Bakers won over three-time defending champion NLEX, 66-52, last December 11 to snap the Road Warriors’ 24-game winning streak stretching three conferences. The Bakers, however, lost four straight games following that landmark win.
Big Chill (76) – Buenafe 14, Villahermosa 14, Bringas 9, Canlas 8, Montilla 7, Brondial 6, Collado 5, Semira 5, Lozada 3, Santos 2, Nuyles 2, Holstein 0.
Café France (71) – Jamon 16, Lopez 13, Parala 11, Pogoy 10, Batino 6, Gallardo 5, Dela Cruz 5, Knuttel 3, Mendoza 2, Saitanan 0, Magbitang 0, Antipuesto 0.
Quarterscores: 21-12; 47-28; 64-53; 76-71.