Photo from PBA ImagesD-LEAGUE25
CEU staves off Ateneo in Game Two to tie Finals series
by Niel Victor Masoy, June 18, 2019 6:32pm
The Cinderella run of Centro Escolar University reached another height as the Scorpions fended off Cignal-Ateneo, 77-74, on Thursday to tie the PBA D-League Finals series, 1-1, at the Ynares Sports Arena.
“I think we’re able to redeem ourselves today. We’re able to show up in the championship game,” CEU head coach Derrick Pumaren said.
After being totally outclassed by Cignal-Ateneo in Game One, the Scorpions engaged the Blue Eagles in an intese battle in Game Two.
CEU opened the final canto with a 10-3 run and grab a 65-55 lead with 5:13 left in regulation. However, Ateneo would go on a 14-4 rally capped by an SJ Belangel trey to tie the game at 69-apiece at the 2:03 mark.
But the Scorpions didn't crumble and went on to led by three points, 72-69 following a Jerome Santos split from the line and a Malick Diouf inside incursion.
Belangel tied the game anew by hitting a triple with 1:11 remaining.
Rich Guinitaran swung back the advantage to the Scorpions by draining his two charities and Santos stretched the cushion to three, 75-72, as he split anew from the line after getting fouled in a rebound play at the 37.3 mark.
Kouame would cut the lead down to one point after converting on a driving layup with 22.5 ticks to go. The Blue Eagles then had a chance to take the lead as they came up with a steal but blew it as Thirdy Ravena was called for a travelling infraction at the 15-second mark.
Franz Diaz then got fouled and drilled both of his charities for a 77-74 CEU lead. Ateneo had two chances to send the game into overtime but the Tab Baldwin-mentored squad blew both with Adrian Wong and Belangel missing their respective triples as the Scorpions held on for the win.
Santos came through for the Scorpions with 28 points and 10 rebounds plus three assists for good measure. Malick Diouf was his usual self, posting 23 markers, 16 boards, four steals, two assists, and two blocks. Guinitaran added 13 points in the win.
Ange Kouame paced the Blue Eagles with 14 points, 10 boards, and three blocks. Belanglel backstopped him with 13 points, six caroms, and five dimes as Adrian Wong chipped in 17 points.
Game Three of the best-of-five series is on Thursday still at the Ynares Sports Arena here.
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