JASON Ballesteros scored seven of his nine points in the third quarter, and Jumbo Plastic Linoleum clinched an outright berth in the semifinals with a 67-57 win over Café France on Tuesday in the PBA D-League Foundation Cup at the Meralco Gym.
Ballesteros also grabbed 14 rebounds to pace the Giants, who forced the Bakers to miss their first 13 shots in the third quarter to pull off the all-important victory.
Jumbo Plastic (6-3) won to force a tie for second place with Blackwater Sports but the Giants moved on to the semifinals for the first time in franchise history due to the winner-over-the-other tiebreak.
NLEX, which swept the elimination round, is the other outright semifinalist.
“Happy sobra,” said Jumbo Plastic coach Stevenson Tiu. “’Yan ang immediate goal namin na makapasok sa semifinals na hindi nangyari last conference.”
Jumbo Plastic started slow as it trailed 28-33 at halftime before outscoring Café France, 23-9 in the third quarter.
“Over-eager lahat nung first half. Gusto mag-contribute. Sabi ko nung halftime, kung hindi tayo maka-execute, at least man lang sa depensa, bumawi tayo. Good thing, hindi na rin pumapasok mga tira ng Café France,” said Tiu.
Jerick Canada had 14 points for Jumbo Plastic, scoring the team’s final five points to stop Café France’s final effort to make a comeback. Jopher Custodio had 11 points in only nine minutes of action.
Despite its shooting woes, the Bakers were still able to cut the deficit to five points on five straight baskets by Mac Montilla but they never got close. Canada sealed the victory with a triple with 33.8 seconds in the fourth.
Jumbo Plastic (67) – Canada 14, Custodio 11, Ballesteros 9, Colina 8, Dehesa 7, Villamor 5, Magat 4, Petilos 3, Romero 3, Tan 3, Parala 0.
Café France (57) – Cortes 13, Montilla 9, Batino 9, Sedurifa 7, Ebondo 5, Jeruta 3, Opiso 3, De Leon 3, Banua 3, Mutombo 2, Gallardo 0, Abundo 0.
Quarterscores: 11-16; 28-33; 51-42; 67-57.