MANILA, Philippines – Cignal-Ateneo may have severely whipped CEU in the PBA D-League Finals opener, but Malick Diouf still thinks the Scorpions can equalize in Game 2 of the best-of-five series.
“We will compete – we will compete next game,” said Diouf.
The Senegalese import stayed dominant inside the paint, effectively silencing Ateneo center Ange Kouame, who was held to just 9 points in the game handily won by the Blue Eagles, 101-66.
Although the Scorpions were severely undermanned in the match, Diouf said their 8-man crew tried to sustain their fighting spirit.
In fact, the Cinderella team managed to stay within striking distance from Ateneo in the opening period, but the UAAP champions displayed their dominance the rest of the way.
Diouf said, though, that the Scorpions were not intimidated by the bigger, star-studded Ateneo squad, and they just played their own brand of basketball.
“We don’t change the game, we only come there, fighting” he said.
Diouf also expects the Scorpions to do better in Game 2 after some lapses in the series opener.
“I think the game will be interesting in itself, because today we [made] many mistakes and no defense,” he added.
However, Diouf also credits Ateneo’s impressive performance behind Isaac Go and Thirdy Ravena.
“For me, I respect them – I respect Ateneo.”
Diouf played almost 31 minutes, leading his team with 21 points on a whopping 70% clip on the field along with 11 rebounds, 3 assists, 4 steals and a block. – Renee Ticzon/Rappler.com