GINEBRA draftee Jens Knuttel had 10 of his 14 points in the third quarter as Café France beat Derulo Accelero, 80-73, on Monday in the PBA D-League Aspirants Cup at the JCSGO gym.
Knuttel's timely scoring explosion allowed the Bakers to outscore the Oilers, 21-10, in the third quarter and reclaim a 63-55 lead after Derulo Accelero had built a 45-42 lead by halftime.
While Café France improved to 3-2 to climb to the fourth spot, coach Egay Macaraya couldn’t help but notice the Bakers’ lackluster play in the first half.
“Mas maganda ‘yung team kapag underdog kami. Kita mo ‘yung fire sa mga bata every time na underdog. Dito, medyo first quarter, second quarter, parang tentative lahat,” said Macaraya.
Josan Nimes led the Bakers in scoring with 20 points, while Rod Ebondo added 13 points and 11 rebounds.
The Oilers, now winless in five games, pulled within three points on a Mark Jeffries basket with 1:19 left in the fourth. But they failed to score again before Mac Montilla put the game beyond doubt with a lay-up.
Jeffries had 17 points, while Jackon Corpuz added 16 points. Raul Soyud had 15 points but was ejected in the third quarter for his second technical foul.
Café France (80) – Nimes 20, Knuttel 14, Ebondo 13, Montilla 7, Gallardo 6, Abundo 6, De Leon 4, Parala 4, Batino 3, Sedurifa 2, Sarangay 1, Celso 0, Mutombo 0.
Derulo Accelero (73) – Jeffries 17, Corpuz 16, Soyud 15, Manuel 9, Asilum 5, Wong 5, Importante 3, Dilay 0, Wierzba 0, Juruena 0, Morillo 0.