MANILA – Cignal-Ateneo Blue Eagles made an immediate impact in the 2019 PBA D-League after scoring a 103-75 victory over the Go for Gold-College of St. Benilde Blazers at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig City.
George Isaac Go led the way with 21 points, including four three-point conversions, while Adrian Wong and Joseph Matthew Nieto had 17 and 14 markers, respectively, for the Blue Eagles.
Ilonggo Ferdinand “Thirdy” Ravena III, who was part of the Gilas Pilipinas’ pool for the 2019 FIBA World Cup qualifier, was absent in the match due to his academic obligations at Ateneo.
Ravena’s absence, however, was hardly felt by the Blue Eagles as they had a strong start behind the outside bombs of Go to turn the 20-16 lead to a commanding 44-17 advantage after a layup by Angelo Kouame.
The lead swelled further for the Blue Eagles in the second half with Mike Nieto, William Navarro and Bacolodnon Samjosef Belangel also contributing on offense for a 28 point winning margin.
“This isn’t how we play in the UAAP. We’ll press a lot more. We’ll do a lot of other things that we really can’t do when our numbers are down,” said Blue Eagles head coach Thomas Baldwin. “The guys played very efficiently and that’s a good thing.”
Justin Gutang led Foundation Cup champion Go for Gold-CSB with 21 points to go along with three rebounds, while Yankie Haruna provided support with his 11 points and three rebounds.
Meanwhile, Valencia City Bukidnon-San Sebastian College Stags also start their campaign on a winning note after a 110-104 overtime win over Marinerong Pilipino Skippers. Allyn Bulanadi tallied 32 points for the Stags./PN