by Jonas Terrado
Game Tuesday (Ynares Sports Arena, Pasig City)
4 p.m. – Cignal-Ateneo vs CEU
(Cignal-Ateneo leads series 1-0)
Cignal-Ateneo unleashed its might on shorthanded Centro Escolar University to take a 101-66 victory in their best-of-five PBA D-League Finals at The Arena in San Juan City.
The Blue Eagles leaned on their defense after a tight start even as Isaac Go, Thirdy Ravena and SJ Belangel produced significant numbers on both ends en route to a lopsided win.
Go topscored with 17 points, Ravena had 15 points, seven rebounds and three assists and Belangel added 12 points and four assists for the Blue Eagles, who will aim to make it two in a row on Tuesday at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig City.
Coach Tab Baldwin saw his other players make an impact as Tyler Tio scored eight points and dished out four assists and Matthew Daves posted seven points and four boards.
“The score was close at the start but our bench players came in and they did really well,” said assistant coach Sandy Arespacochaga.
Senegalese center Maodo Malick Diouf finished with 21 points, 11 rebounds and four blocks and Jerome Santos and Rich Guinitaran added 13 and 12 points but the Scorpions had no answer for the Blue Eagles.
CEU, which made it to the finals the hard way despite being reduced to eight players due to game-fixing allegations that rocked the team, led 12-9 on Dave Bernabe’s layup with less than four minutes left in the first.
But Cignal-Ateneo closed the quarter on a 16-4 run, ending on Go’s three-pointer before the buzzer.
Ravena would score 10 in the second quarter to help Cignal-Ateneo pad its lead to 54-31 at the half.
The Blue Eagles’ biggest margin came at 39 points, 76-37, on Belangel’s triple with under three minutes left in the third period.