MANILA, Philippines – A well-rested Cignal-Ateneo flexed its championship muscle to overpower the CEU Scorpions, 101-66, in Game 1 of the 2019 PBA D-League Finals at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan on Thursday, June 13.
Riding on a nine-game winning streak, the Blue Eagles grabbed the first win in the best-of-five series behind the strong plays of Isaac Go and Thirdy Ravena.
The Blue Eagles, the reigning UAAP champions, outscored the Scorpions, 29-15, in the 2nd quarter to erect a 23-point advantage at halftime, 54-31, that grew to as many as 39 points, 76-37, by the 3rd quarter.
Go shot 4-of-6 from beyond the arc to finish with a team-high 17 points, while Ravena collected 15 points, 7 rebounds and 3 assists to power the Blue Eagles.
Ateneo’s SJ Belangel also delivered 12 points against CEU, which had been playing with an undermanned crew of 8 players.
“I think that is our mental edge also, knowing that we can play hard defensively na may kapalit ako and it’s gonna do the same thing with the same amount of effort,” said Ateneo assistant coach Sandy Arespacochaga.
(I think that is our mental edge also, knowing that we can play hard defensively, then have someone substitute, knowing that the player will do the same thing with the same amount of effort.)
Senegalese center Maodo Malick Diouf carried the Scorpions on his shoulders with 21 points. Jerome Santos scored 13 and Richard Guinitaran also chipped in 12 points.
Ateneo will try to get one step closer to the crown in Game 2 on June 18, Tuesday, at the Ynares Sports Arena.
After a close fight in the opening quarter, Ateneo pulled away in the 2nd period starting with a 7-0 run on the way to a whopping 54-31 halftime lead.
The Blue Eagles continued to crank up their game in the 3rd quarter, building their biggest lead of 39 points, 76-37, and closing the period up 80-45 against the severely exhausted Scorpions.
Cignal-Ateneo 101 – Go 17, Ravena 15, Belangel 12, Kouame 9, Ma. Nieto 9, Tio 8, Wong 8, Daves 7, Andrade 5, Mi. Nieto 3, Mamuyac 3, Mendoza 3, Berjay 2, Navarro 0, Credo 0.
CEU 66 – Diouf 21, Santos 13, Guinitaran 12, Diaz 6, Bernabe 6, Intic 4, Sunga 2, Abastillas 2.
Quarters: 25-16, 54-31, 80-45, 101-66.
– Czarina Brozo/Rappler.com