Cignal-Ateneo buries CEU to win PBA D-League title
MANILA, Philippines – Cignal-Ateneo left nothing up to chance as it buried the CEU Scorpions, 98-66, to win the 2019 PBA D-League championship in Game 4 at the Ynares Sports Arena on Tuesday, June 25.
This is now the Blue Eagles' second offseason title since winning their second straight UAAP championship in 2018.
Prior to ruling the D-League, they also flexed their dominance in the Philippine Collegiate Champions League, edging out NCAA kings San Beda Red Lions in the finals.
Ange Kouame had his fingerprints all over the blowout with 18 points, 16 rebounds, 2 steals, and 2 blocks, while lanky forward William Navarro ignited the early drubbing and finished with 16 markers on 6-of-8 shooting in just 17 minutes.
Cignal-Ateneo was in cruise control straight from tip-off, as it launched a 16-0 run for the 27-5 lead with 3:11 to go in the opening quarter. By the end of the frame, they were already up 28, 38-10.
From there, it was all a matter of maintaining composure as the Eagles stretched the gap as far as 37 points, 79-42, late in the 3rd quarter off an and-one play by Gian Mamuyac.
Reigning two-time UAAP Finals MVP Thirdy Ravena was locked in as well on both ends of the floor, chipping in 15 markers, 4 rebounds, and 4 steals, while Mamuyac added 10 markers on a perfect 4-of-4 clip.
CEU sniper Rich Guinitaran led the valiant eight-man Scorpions with 20 points on 4-of-5 shooting from downtown, while the tireless Malick Diouf churned out an 11-marker, 12-board double-double in the losing effort.
The powerhouse Scorpions got cut to 8 players after a controversial game-fixing issue caused 7 players – Jan Formento, Tyron Chan, Judel Fuentes, Christian Uri, Keanu Caballero, John Rojas, and John Lisbo – to get kicked out from the team mid-season.
Despite this stunning development, the remnants of coach Derrick Pumaren's squad started a Cinderella run through the D-League playoffs before eventually falling at the hands of the mighty Cignal-Ateneo.
Cignal-Ateneo 98 - Kouame 18, Navarro 16, Ravena 15, Mamuyac 10, Ma. Nieto 9, Mi. Nieto 7, Go 7, Wong 6, Mendoza 5, Daves 2, Credo 2, Belangel 1, Tio 0, Andrade 0, Berjay 0.
CEU 66 - Guinitaran 20, Bernabe 12, Diouf 11, Santos 11, Diaz 6, Sunga 6, Intic 0, Abastillas 0.
Quarters: 38-10, 48-27, 79-47, 98-66.