MANILA – Cignal-Ateneo Blue Eagles easily drew first blood in the 2019 PBA D-League best-of-five finals with a 101-66 Game 1 annihilation of Centro Escolar University Scorpions last night at San Juan Arena.
George Isaac Go led the way with 17 points, while Ilonggo Ferdinand “Thirdy” Ravena III and Negrense Samjosef Belangel added 13 and 12 markers, respectively, for the Blue Eagles.
The Blue Eagles were threatened early in the first quarter with the Scorpions ahead 12-9 before unloading a huge run build on three triples by Go and inside hits from Belangel for a 25-16 edge.
The Scorpions clawed to within 20-30 at the onset of the second period but consecutive triples from Ravena, Tyler Tio and Angelo Kouame to build a 54-31 advantage at the half.
The lead grew further for the reigning UAAP men’s basketball champions in the second half as they hit triple after triple to build its biggest lead of the game at 98-60 on triples by Tio and Jolo Mendoza.
“We do not want to take CEU for granted. They’re in the finals for a reason. They’ve been playing undermanned and that’s what makes them dangerous,” said Blue Eagles assistant coach Sandy Arespacochaga.
Maodo Malick Diouf finished with 17 points, while Rich Guinitaran and Rojay Santos added 12 and 10 markers, respectively, for the heavily-undermanned Scorpions./PN