MANILA, Philippines – Cignal-Ateneo survived a gutsy ChaDao-FEU squad, 67-60, to advance to the 2019 PBA D-League semifinals at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig City on Monday, May 27.
Angelo Kouame bannered Ateneo's ouster of FEU in the quarterfinals kickoff with 14 points, 14 rebounds, 3 steals, 2 assists, and 2 blocks. Fellow star Thirdy Ravena bucked a cold shooting day and chipped in 10 markers, 6 boards, and 3 assists.
Down 11 late in the 2nd quarter, the Blue Eagles used a strong 21-7 run spilling over the halfway mark of the 3rd frame to take a 41-38 advantage.
The Tamaraws regained the lead early in the 4th frame off a midrange jumper by Wendell Comboy, 52-51, but Ateneo seized control in the endgame with an 11-4 response, ending with a clutch trey by Jolo Mendoza at the 2:32 mark.
All the Blue Eagles needed to do from then on was clamp down on the Tamaraw shooters as they ran away with the win.
"Our mentality was to take it possession by possession," said Ateneo deputy coach Sandy Arespacochaga of their fightback.
Cade Flores led FEU's gallant stand with 14 points and 7 rebounds, while Joseph Nunag punched in 10 markers and 3 boards.
With the win, Cignal-Ateneo now advances to a semis match against fellow powerhouse Valencia-City San Sebastian, which earned a 93-87 overtime win against Che'lu Bar and Grill in the second game.
JM Calma led 5 players in double figures with 19 points and 11 rebounds. Allyn Bulanadi and Alex Desoyo each chipped in 15 markers, while RK Ilagan dropped 11 in the win.
After Che'lu big man Jay Collado sank the game-tying layup with two seconds left in regulation, San Sebastian got back at them with 5 straight points to start the extra period.
However, the Revellers rallied right back to tie the game yet again at 87-all, courtesy of a long bomb by Gabriel Dagangon with 61 ticks remaining.
Jeff Viernes had a chance to take the lead with one more trey after a go-ahead Mario Bonleon layup, but his shot clanked off as San Sebastian secured the win off its last two trips to the line.
Steady guard Rey Suerte paced Che'lu with 18 points and 9 rebounds. Dagangon added 16 markers, while Alfred Batino churned out 12 points and 9 boards.
Cignal-Ateneo vs ChaDao-FEU
Cignal-Ateneo 67 - Kouame 14, Ravena 10, Go 8, Nieto J. 6, Navarro 5, Andrade 5, Mendoza 5, Tio 4, Belangel 4, Mamuyac 2, Nieto M. 2, Daves 2.
ChaDao-FEU 60 - Flores 14, Nunag 10, Comboy 9, Bienes 8, Stockton 7, Tuffin 6, Tchuente 4, Mantua 0, Gonzales 0, Cani 0, Casino 0.
Quarters: 11-17, 32-36, 48-46, 67-60.
Valencia-San Sebastian vs Che'lu
Valencia-San Sebastian 93 - Calma 19, Desoyo 15, Bulanadi 15, Ilagan 11, Bonleon 10, Capobres 8, Are 7, Sumoda 4, Altamirano 3, Calahat 1, Villapando 0, Dela Cruz 0, Tero 0.
Che'lu 87 - Suerte 18, Dagangon 16, Batino 12, Collado 9, Viernes 8, Dumapig 7, Bautista 6, Manalang 6, Siruma 3, Bringas 2, Taganas 0, Gabo 0.
Quarters: 21-18, 44-30, 61-53, 80-80, 93-87.