7-man CEU takes down Cignal-Ateneo to tie PBA D-League Finals
ABS-CBN Sports on Jun 18, 2019 06:12 PM
CEU's Cinderella run continues as it pulls the chair from under heavy favorite Cignal-Ateneo
Centro Escolar University stunned Cignal-Ateneo, 77-74, to level the 2019 PBA D-League Finals at one game apiece on Tuesday at Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig.
Jerome Santos uncorked 28 points, 10 rebounds, and three assists to be the difference-maker for the seven-man Scorpions.
Senegalese big man Maodo Malick Diouf remained solid upfront with 23 points, 16 boards, four steals, two dimes, and two blocks, as Rich Guinitaran chipped in 13 points, two assists, and two blocks.
"I think we're able to redeem ourselves today. We're able to show up in the championship game," said coach Derrick Pumaren. "What I told my players is more on motivation. I told them to believe in themselves, that we can be in the same league in Ateneo. I'm just happy to see the fight and us competing in this game."
It was a different CEU team from that of Game 1, grabbing a 65-55 lead midway through the fourth.
Cignal-Ateneo, though, would stage a 14-4 response to knot the score at 69 with exactly two minutes remaining.
The game was then ultimately decided on the charity stripe as the Scorpions converted six of their eight freebies in the endgame, with Franz Diaz burying the crucial shots in the last 10.1 ticks as it held a 77-74 lead.
Guinitaran almost squandered the game with a turnover on his inbounds play, but Adrian Wong was whistled for a travelling violation that gave CEU the ball back.
Wong and SJ Belangel still had their shots to force overtime, but their triples rattled out of the basket as the buzzer horned.
Wong carried the Blue Eagles with 17 points on a 4-of-7 clip from beyond the arc.
Ivorian slotman Ange Kouame nabbed a double-double with 14 points, 10 rebounds, and three blocks, as Belangel got 13 off the bench in the loss.
Cignal-Ateneo played without senior forward Isaac Go who was under the weather.
The crucial Game 3 is on Thursday, still at Ynares Sports Arena.
CEU 77 -- Santos 28, Diouf 23, Guinitaran 13, Diaz 8, Bernabe 2, Abastillas 2, Sunga 1.
CIGNAL-ATENEO 74 -- Wong 17, Kouame 14, Belangel 13, Ravena 10, Andrade 6, Daves 4, Mi. Nieto 4, Mamuyac 4, Ma. Nieto 2, Tio 0, Navarro 0, Credo 0, Berjay 0.
QUARTER SCORES: 16-13, 34-39, 53-52, 77-74.