MANILA, Philippines – The CEU Scorpions denied the rallying Metropac-San Beda Red Lions, 80-77, in an instant PBA D-League classic at the Paco Arena on Monday, March 11.
After being buried on a huge 30-point hole in the 3rd quarter, 40-70, San Beda dug themselves out with a massive 23-2 run through the 4th to narrow the gap to single digits, 63-72.
While CEU managed to lead 78-70 in the last two minutes of regulation, San Beda still managed a last-gasp 7-0 run, capped by a wide-open layup by Donald Tankoua to inch within a point with 16 ticks left.
San Beda still had one final shot to steal the game after two missed Tyron Chan free throws but James Canlas got caught in the baseline for a crucial turnover in the last two seconds.
Calvin Oftana was then forced to foul Judel Fuentes, who this time sank his charities to make it a three-point lead for CEU.
AC Soberano then heaved an early halfcourt bomb with 2.2 seconds left, but his shot caught only air as time expired.
Fuentes led CEU with 20 points and 4 rebounds while Senegalese center Maodo Diouf anchored the Scorpions with a 17-point, 23-rebound double-double.
San Beda first felt the CEU sting in the 2nd quarter after the Scorpions scuttled away to a huge 15-0 run for the 21-point lead, 35-16. San Beda finally shook off the cold spell after an Evan Nelle triple, their first field goal in over 6 minutes.
The thrashing continued late into the 3rd period, peaking at 30 points, 70-40, after a pair of free throws by Fuentes. From there on, San Beda outscored CEU, 37-8, but ultimately fell short.
Veteran big man Donald Tankoua paced the Red Lions with 22 points and 14 rebounds. Canlas added 21 markers while Nelle chipped in 11 points, 6 rebounds and 4 assists.
In the first game, the undefeated Valencia City Bukidnon-San Sebastian Stags continued their winning ways after outgunning the winless SMDC-NU Bulldogs, 82-73.
Flashy guard RK Ilagan was unstoppable in this one, dropping 14 of his 30 points in the 4th quarter and stopped the Bulldogs' multiple comeback attempts.
Veteran head coach Egay Macaraya could only flash a big smile after their third straight win.
"Wala ka nang mahihingi pa. Pagod na pagod na siya pero nandoon pa rin 'yung effort niya," he said.
(You couldn't ask for more. He's already very tired but the effort is still there.)
Ilagan hit 6-of-11 (54%) from deep, mostly from contested off-the-dribble pull-ups. And that's not including the wild floaters and step-back jumpers he drained inside the arc.
He then hit one more runner off the bank late in the 4th to douse NU's rally, 82-69, with 59 seconds remaining.
Lanky forward Allyn Bulanadi took a backseat from his usual scoring partner but still contributed across the board with 14 markers, 9 boards, 5 steals and 4 assists.
Dave Ildefonso led the Bulldogs with 21 points, 6 assists and 4 rebounds as they remained winless in 3 games so far.
CEU vs San Beda
CEU 80 – Fuentes 20, Diouf 17, Chan 14, Ke. Caballero 9, Formento 9, Uri 5, Diaz 4, Lisbo 2, Rojas 0, Intic 0.
Metropac-San Beda 77 – Tankoua 22, Canlas 21, Nelle 11, Doliguez 6, Soberano 5, Bahio 5, Oftana 4, Etrata 3, Obenza 0, Alfaro 0, Cuntapay 0, Abuda 0, Visser 0, Carino 0, Tagala 0.
Quarters: 20-16, 44-24, 70-52, 80-77.
San Sebastian vs NU
Valencia-San Sebastian 82 – Ilagan 30, Bulanadi 14, Bonleon 9, Calma 8, Are 7, Capobres 6, Dela Cruz 3, Villapando 3, Sumoda 2, Altamirano 0, Quiambao 0, Desoyo 0, Calahat 0.
SMDC-NU 73 – D. Ildefonso 21, Clemente 19, Gaye 10, Minerva 9, S. Ildefonso 5, Sistoza 2, Oczon 2, Diputado 2, Gallego 2, Galinato 1, Sinclair 0, Salim 0, Yu 0, Mangayao 0.
Quarters: 13-7, 36-22, 61-48, 82-73.