FRUITAS survived a late scare from Café France, scoring a 73-69 victory on Monday to formalize its entry into the quarterfinals while eliminating its opponent from contention in the PBA D-League Foundation Cup at the JCSGO Gym in Quezon City.
Carlo Lastimosa delivered the offensive goods as usual, but it was Jan Colina who ensured the victory by scoring a crucial basket down the stretch for the Shakers, who solidified their hold of second place
with a 7-3 record.
The Shakers still have a chance to clinch an outright semifinal berth if they maintain their ranking. The top two teams at the end of the eliminations make the Final Four outright, while the next four squads
tangle in the quarterfinals.
The Shakers led throughout, but saw the Bakers make a late comeback to outscore them in the payoff period, 22-12, behind Mike Parala and Moncrief Rogado.
But the Shakers held on as Colina, the former Adamson slotman, scored the insurance points via an undergoal stab in the waning seconds. It was Colina’s only basket after four attempts and 23
minutes on the court.
“Broken play yun,” Shakers coach Nash Racela said of the team’s last offensive possession. “Nung endgame, when we needed a basket, wala kami makuha (kaya sila naka-run). We had to go to Carlo. Nag-deliver naman siya.”
Lastimosa finished with a game-high 18 points on top of seven rebounds, and three assists.
The Shakers’ closest pursuers in a battle for the outright semifinal berth are Blackwater and Boracay Rum.
“If the game is important to them, it’s important to us as well. Pero ang gusto naming is to take it a game at a time and look forward na lang sa Boracay game,” said Racela, whose wards next face the Waves.
Café France fell to 5-6, ninth place among 12 squads.
FRUITAS 73 – Lastimosa 18, Tolomia 11, Cruz 11, Escobal 10, Caram 10, Escoto 4, Antontio 3, Mendoza 2, Pogoy 2, Colina 2, Sentcheu 0, Semira 0.
CAFÉ FRANCE 69 – Parala 17, Rogado 12, Batino 9, Lopez 7, Knuttel 6, Silungan 5, Magbitang 5, Maconocido 5, Abundo 3, Gallardo 0, Cornejo 0, Magat 0.
Quarterscores: 25-17; 39-32; 61-47; 73-69.