The Bleachers King: What happened to Café France?

Posted at 01/24/2014 5:05 PM | Updated as of 01/24/2014 5:05 PM

Blackwater Sports survived a late explosion by Mac Montilla to defeat Café France, 87-72, in overtime to get back in the hunt for a quarterfinals berth of the D-League Aspirants’ Cup.

Café France versus Blackwater Sports. Photo by Nuki Sabio

What happened to Café France?

The Bakers had a chance to win this in regulation when Montilla missed a three. Mon Abunda was able to retrieve the rebound be he too missed a shot from the baseline.

How’d Blackwater pull this off?

Two dudes in the crunch.

Kevin Ferrer hit a triple and three free throws to notch the count at 70-all before Café France’s missed shots in the endgame. Ferrer also forced Montilla into a poor shot in the end game.

Then in overtime, Allan Mangahas sped his way to 10 points including six off fastbreaks in the first few minutes to put some distance between them and Café France. And that contributed to the huge disparity in fastbreak points, 22-10. Blackwater likewise has better finishers in Cruz, Mangahas, and even Hyram Bagatsing.

When you look at Blackwater’s lineup, they have three players who have been clutch for their respective college squads – Mangahas with Mapua, Ferrer for UST, and Cruz for Adamson. That’s a major plus for head coach Leo Austria. And all three were in the endgame for Blackwater.

The Bakers hit more triples, pulled down more rebounds (including a 21-10 edge on the offensive boards), and went to the line four more times, 29-25, but I felt that their insistence on going to Montilla when he was already shut down late in the game hurt their chances. Alfred Batino was there for scraps more than a go-to guy.

Unlike for Blackwater Sports that counted several guys picking it up in the clutch in Jericho Cruz, Gio Ciriacruz, and Mangahas. Ferrer got the job done on the defensive end in overtime. It sure is tough to guard a team with players who like to drive inside (Ciriacruz, Cruz, and Mangahas).

Café France sure missed Rod Ebondo in the second half when he was largely ineffective. The Bakers’ head coach Egay Macaraya screamed at him when he got yanked in the fourth, “Where are you? You’re inside but I don’t see you inside. You’re always outside (the lane).”

I thought that was a little unfair because Jam Cortes disappeared in the fourth and in the extension.

NU-BDO defeated Cebuana Lhuillier, 93-75

Just sharing some thoughts on how I look at basketball games.

I look at the make up of a team. What kinds of players are there? Do they like to run or are they a walk it up team?

I am a firm believer that if a team doesn’t have the height then they should play a swarming type of game on defense then run at every opportunity. There should be some shooters to keep the lane defense a little loose to allow the slashers room to drive.

Been harping on the 24-second shot clock and how teams like NU-BDO should take advantage of that.

Taking notes on the game yesterday, that attacking game netted 29 free throw attempts and 20 fastbreak points. The frenetic attack allowed the Bulldogs to even beat UE-Cebuana Lhuillier on the boards 41-35 912-11 on the offensive glass) despite the Warriors have Bam Gamalinda, Chris Javier, Papot Paredes, and Jesse Bustos to patrol that lane.

I wondered why Lord Casajeros or even Ralf Olivares didn’t play too much (five and four minutes each) while the guards got a lot of playing time. Too many guards on the floor meant less to rebound, a strength of Olivares or even Casajeros. So they got killed.

Paul Zamar is an outstanding player and he topscored for Cebuana with 24 points in 32 minutes. But along with Roi Sumang, James Martinez, and Alvin Padilla, they combined for 53 points and 12 rebounds. The other 22 points were scattered across the forwards and centers who didn’t get their touches. The ball in my opinion didn’t move too much. Rather than help their other players get in the flow of the game, they took too many shots. The four guards averaged 24 minutes while taking 41 attempts.

I feel they did not do proper reads. Alvin Padilla scored eight points on 3-6 shooting. Maybe he should have gotten the ball a little more.

That the guards heavily dictated their offense put a lot of pressure on their forwards and centers. The porous perimeter defense allowed the Bulldogs a lot of free lanes to attack their centers.

I thought that Cebuana relied too heavily on the outside shot. The predilection for the outside shot saw them take 37 attempts from the three-point line while making only 11. The Bulldogs on the other hand attempted 19 times and scored on eight of them for 42%. Save for one or two attempts (that missed badly), NU-BDO’s three-point attempts were taken during the flow of the offense.

With Ray Parks deliberately allowing his teammates to stand up on their own and to put their stamp on the team since he is leaving, the others have responded. Love how Troy Rosario and Glenn Khobuntin playing larger roles. And Glenn has been working hard even after practice. Watched him take an extra 30 minutes of shots after practice ended the other day. That desire, ethic and hunger has seen him play much much better. He topscored for the Bulldogs with 22 points while pulling down 11 rebounds including five offensive boards and five assists (to go with a steal and a block). A well-rounded game that once was Parks’ domain. That augurs well for the transition.

But on to the Bulldogs’ offense, that eight seconds or less attack allowed NU-BDO to win this running away 93-75. That was the huge difference (along with the intensity that they sustained throughout the entire 40 minutes).

Disclaimer: The views in this blog are those of the blogger and do not necessarily reflect the views of ABS-CBN Corp.