MANILA – Centro Escolar University Scorpions caught fire in the second half to score an 89-72 win over St. Clare College Virtual Reality Saints in the do-or-die semifinals of the 2019 PBA D-League on Tuesday night at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig City.
Rich Guinitaran led the way with 23 points and seven rebounds, while Dave Bernabe had double-double 22 points and 14 rebounds and Maodo Malick Diouf chipped in 14 for the Scorpions.
The Scorpions, which was decimated to seven players with the other half of its roster kicked out due to game fixing allegations, will battle Cignal-Ateneo de Manila University Blue Eagles in the best-of-five finals starting today.
“We didn’t expect to be here, to make it to the Finals, but the heart and the desire to win ng mga players, there’s no substitute for that,” said Scorpions head coach Derrick Pumaren.
Trailing 38-39 at the half, the Scorpions went on a huge 20-4 scoring run in the third period behind Guinitaran, Bernabe and Diouf to take a commanding 58-43 edge heading into the fourth.
In the final quarter, the Scorpions suffered a huge blow as Diouf was tagged with a flagrant foul penalty one for his landing spot foul against Raymond Rubio but Guinitaran and Bernabe came up with huge hits for a huge 83-68 edge with over two minutes left.
Junjie Hallare top-scored with 19 points, while Joshua Fontanilla got 16 points, six rebounds, five assists, and five steals in the semis exit of the Saints./PN