PASIG CITY – Cignal HD clinched the second and last outright semifinal berth of the 2017 PBA D-League Foundation Cup thanks to their 96-89 triumph over Centro Escolar University Tuesday (July 25) at the Ynares Sports Arena. Coming off a 19-day vacation and playing without head coach Boyet Fernandez, the Hawkeyes leaned on the big fourth period plays of Jason Perkins and Pamboy Raymundo at crunch time to seal the deal.
Assistant coach Jude Roque was tasked to call the shots in lieu of Coach Fernandez who handled San Beda College in their NCAA game over at San Juan City. “Credit still to Coach Boyet for making today’s game plan and we really benefited from our long break to prepare for this game,” said Coach Roque.
Rodrigue Ebondo gave the Scorpions their last taste of the lead in the third period, 60-59, but Cignal countered with a crippling 10-0 run from which CEU never recovered. Perkins and Raymundo went to work as their timely hits preserved the win, the Hawkeye’s eighth in 10 games and sixth in a row.
Byron Villarias paced the Hawkeyes with 19 points via five triples. Perkins was next with a double-double of 18 points and 10 rebounds, hitting seven markers in the fourth period.
Aaron Jeruta and Ebondo led the way for the Scorpions with 23 points apiece. At 5-4, CEU has to win their last game against Racal Motors to get a sure spot in the quarterfinals and avoid complications of going through a tiebreaker via the quotient system.
Idle Tanduay Rhum (7-2), which was hoping for a Scorpions victory for them to stay in contention for a semifinal slot, automatically garnered third spot and a twice to beat advantage in the quarterfinals. Still in contention for the remaining three quarterfinal berths are Batangas (5-3), CEU (5-4), Marinerong Pilipino (5-4) and Wang’s Basketball (5-5).
Undefeated league leader Flying V seized the first outright semifinal spot as early as last week. The Thunder beat cellar-dweller Zark’s Burger in the day’s opener, 97-59, for their ninth straight win.
How They Scored:
CIGNAL HD (96) – Villarias 19, Perkins 18, Sumalinog 13, Raymundo 11, Jose 10, Bringas 8, Arong 5, Cahilig 5, Sara 3, Arboleda 2, Batino 2, Belencion 0.
CENTRO ESCOLAR (89) – Jeruta 23, Ebondo 23, Casino 15, Guinitaran 8, Wamar 7, Cruz 7, Uri 2, Manlangit 2, Arim 2, Aquino 0, Fuentes 0, Intic 0.
Period Scores: 21-28, 48-44, 71-65, 96-89.