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PBA DL: Flying V, Cignal near title clash

Games Tuesday
(Ynares Sports Arena, Pasig City)
3 p.m. – Marinerong Pilipino vs Cignal
5 p.m. – CEU vs Flying V

Flying V and Cignal moved one win closer toward arranging a title showdown after taking their respective best-of-three series openers yesterday in the PBA D-League Foundation Cup semifinals before a big crowd at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig City.

Gab Banal forced an offensive foul on Rod Ebondo in the dying seconds and Flying V survived the determined challenge of Centro Escolar University, 65-61, to extend its unbeaten run to 11 games in the league’s second conference.

Cignal leaned on a first quarter surge before foiling numerous comeback bids by the stubborn Marinerong Pilipino, 86-67, in the other semis pairing to put itself on the cusp of a second straight finals appearance.

The two teams which finished 1-2 after the elimination round can finish off their foes on Tuesday at the same venue.

Flying V nearly squandered a 59-50 lead as CEU moved to within two points, 63-61, on Art Aquino’s three-point play with 1:20 remaining in the fourth. But the Scorpions wasted two chances of tying the game.

CEU’s Orlan Wamar missed two technical free throws off an Flagrant Foul 1 by Thomas Torres with 21.0 seconds left before Ebondo drove over Banal, prompting referees to call an offensive foul, 6.1 left to play.

“I think this game really boiled down to the stops, we were able to make the crucial stops,” said Flying V coach Eric Altamirano. “But overall, we have to grind it out because CEU played a really good game.”

In the nightcap, Cignal started strong with Raymar Jose, Jason Perkins, John Villarias and Oping Sumalinog combining for 24 of the team’s 34 first quarter points to lead Marinero by 20.

The Hawkeyes led by 24 in the third, but saw the Skippers trimmed the gap in half, 75-63, on Julian Sargent’s layup, 3:21 in the fourth. Jose, though, answered with a basket and Sumalinog fired a corner trey to make it 80-63 in Cignal’s favor.