CafeFrance coach refuses to blame Carl Bryan Cruz for two missed free throws in Game 3 loss
Carl Bryan Cruz had a chance to give the Bakers some breathing room but missed twice from the stripe late in Game Three. Jerome Ascano

CAFEFRANCE coach Egay Macaraya said Carl Bryan Cruz should not be blamed for the Bakers’ heartbreaking loss to Phoenix-Far Eastern University in Game Three of the PBA D-League Aspirants Cup finals.

Cruz, who played the hero’s role in the Bakers' Game Two win, had a chance at an encore on Thursday when he was fouled with Phoenix in penalty and CafeFrance leading, 84-82, with 17 seconds left to play.

But the former FEU standout missed the two crucial free throws that could have sealed the win for the Bakers, leaving the door open for Phoenix which stole the game on a last-gasp Roger Pogoy three-pointer.

[See Roger Pogoy drains game-winning triple as Phoenix nips Cafe France to close in on D-League title]

Macaraya, however, was quick to absolve Cruz, instead putting the blame on himself after the Bakers failed to protect an 80-71 lead in the fourth period.

“I guess, breaks of the game. It was my fault because I was the one who gets to choose who will receive the ball,” said Macaraya in a short interview.

“As I’ve said, breaks of the game. Hindi naman niya kasalanan na mag-mintis sa game,” said Macaraya.

CafeFrance is now looking to force a rubber match in Game Four on Tuesday, 3 p.m. at the Filoil Flying V Centre.

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