MANILA, Philippines – The 2019 PBA D-League season officially kicked off with a blowout as the Cignal-Ateneo Blue Eagles drubbed the Go for Gold-CSB Scratchers, 103-75, at the Ynares Sports Arena on Thursday, February 14.
Sweet-shooting big man Isaac Go led Cignal’s dominance with 21 points off the bench on a 4-of-6 (66%) clip from downtown.
Fellow anchor Ange Kouame tallied a 13-point, 18-rebound double-double with 4 blocks to boot, while veteran sniper Adrian Wong chipped in 17 markers on a 5-of-12 (41%) shooting from deep.
Despite fielding only 9 players due to ongoing classes, the defending UAAP champions erupted for a massive 24-1 run in the 2nd quarter to essentially put the game away at 44-17 with 3:36 to go.
Athletic stud Justin Gutang managed to trim the Scratchers’ deficit to 15, 43-58, after a layup at the 5:35 mark of the 3rd frame, but the 2018 Foundation Cup champions never got closer than that down the stretch.
Kouame sealed the game for good late in the 4th after a contested one-hand tomahawk jam for the 100-73 lead.
Multi-titled head coach Tab Baldwin commended his wards’ stellar offensive performances after the game.
“You know we only had 9 guys,” he said. “This isn't how we play in the UAAP. We'll press a lot more, we'll do a lot of other things that we really can't do when our numbers are down. So offensively, I was surprised, we played pretty well.”
Gutang paced Go for Gold with 21 points, 3 rebounds and 2 steals off the bench. Vocal leader Yankie Haruna added 11 markers as the only other Scratcher in double-digit points.
Valencia City Bukidnon-SSC outlasts Marinerong Pilipino
In the second game, the Valencia City Bukidnon-San Sebastian Stags snuck past the Marinerong Pilipino Skippers in a 110-104 overtime thriller.
After Skipper big man Art Aquino nailed a clutch buzzer-beating putback to send the game to overtime, 100-all, the Stags put that to waste with an 8-0 charge in the extra period for the 108-102 gap.
Former La Salle forward Santi Santillan made it a four-point game, 104-108, after a layup at the 1:06 mark, but the Skippers tumbled in the clutch as spitfire Stag RK Ilagan closed them out with two charities off the penalty, 110-104.
San Sebastian head coach Egay Macaraya was in a good mood with the win despite needing an extra period.
“Everybody, nakita naman ninyo, 'yung sa extension, hindi nag-give up 'yung mga bata eh. So I guess, 'yun 'yung bini-build namin dito ngayon,” he said. “Imagine Marinero ang lakas ng team, tapos 'yung competition at saka building ng character ng Baste, then at least nakita ko na hindi kami nag-give up, and that is the very thing that I'm very happy about.”
(As you can see, everybody didn’t give up in the extension. So I guess, that’s what we’re building off on today. Imagine, Marinero is a strong team, plus the competition here and the character-building with Baste, at least I saw that we didn’t give up. That’s the very thing that I’m very happy about.)
Lanky swingman Allyn Bulanadi led San Sebastian’s closeout with 32 points and 9 rebounds off the bench. Ilagan fired off 28 markers in tow with 7 boards and 6 assists on 5-of-9 (56%) clip from downtown.
Former CEU point guard Orlan Wamar came one rebound short of a triple-double, tallying 15 markers, 9 boards and a game-high 14 assists in the losing effort.
Team veteran Mike Ayonayon led the team in scoring with 23 points while Aquino added 19 markers and 5 boards.
Cignal-Ateneo 103 – Go 21, Wong 17, Ma. Nieto 14, Kouame 13, Mi. Nieto 9, Navarro 9, Belangel 9, Daves 6, Credo 5.
Go for Gold-CSB 75 – Gutang 21, Haruna 11, Belgica 9, Pasturan 8, Naboa 7, Young 6, Dixon 6, Carlos 5, Leutcheu 2, Nayve 0.
Quarters: 20-14, 49-26, 80-55, 103-75.
Valencia-San Sebastian 110 – Bulanadi 32, Ilagan 28, Calma 9, Villapando 8, Capobres 7, Dela Cruz 6, Are 5, Altamirano 5, Sumoda 4, Desoyo 3, Bonleon 3, Calahat 0, Tero 0, Loristo 0.
Marinerong Pilipino 104 – Ayonayon 23, Aquino 19, Wamar 15, Rodriguez 15, Santillan 12, Asistio 9, Mendoza 6, Reyes 3, Serrano 2, Victoria 0, Bonifacio 0, Bunag 0.
Quarters: 30-26, 50-53, 78-68, 100-100, 110-104.