CAFEFRANCE overcame an early test in the conference as the Bakers beat Racal, 83-79, on Thursday to tab its second victory in as many games in the PBA D-League Foundation Cup at the JCSGO gym in Quezon City.
Rodrigue Ebondo had 15 points and six rebounds, while Aaron Jeruta chipped in 12 points including critical baskets for the Bakers.
Paul Zamar added 10 points as the Bakers scored a morale-boosting win against one of the teams being considered as title contenders.
CafeFrance, which tied Phoenix on top of the team standings, leaned on a smaller line-up and the core of the Centro Escolar University to fend off the Tile Master, who tied the game despite trailing early, 20-1.
"Hinabol nila kami. Nag-go small na and all-CEU kami, and the boys showed their character nila na ayaw magpatalo," said CafeFrance coach Egay Macaraya.
Jeruta made it 80-76 with 47.6 seconds left. After a triple by Philip Paniamogan, Jeruta hit another jumper for a three-point lead.
Mon Abundo split his two free throws after a foul by Paniamogan to settle the final tally.
Paniamogan scored a game-high 24 points for Racal, which fell to 1-1.
CafeFrace 83 — Ebondo 15, Jeruta 12, Zamar 10, Parala 9, Opiso 8, Villahermosa 8, Abundo 6, Cruz 6, Casino 5, Manlangit 4, De Leon 0.
Racal 79 — Paniamogan 24, Banal 13, Grey 10, Maiquez 7, Celiz 5, Robles 5, Gabawan 4, Javier 4, Ortuoste 3, Terso 3, Ruaya 1, Corpuz 0, McCarthy 0.
Quarterscores: 27-14; 38-27; 60-51; 83-79.