PBA D-League

‘Still the Davids’: CEU stuns San Beda in PBA D-League semis opener

Rob Andrew Dongiapon

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‘Still the Davids’: CEU stuns San Beda in PBA D-League semis opener

CLUTCH. CEU's Daniel Marcelo goes for a layup against San Beda in Game 1 of the PBA D-League semifinals.


Underdog CEU hacks out a PBA D-League semis opener upset over NCAA champion San Beda, but UAAP king La Salle wrests control in its own duel against St. Clare

MANILA, Philippines – Replicating their upset win in the classification round, the CEU Scorpions stung NCAA champion Marinerong Pilipino-San Beda Red Lions once more, 75-71, to take Game 1 of the PBA D-League Aspirants’ Cup semifinals on Thursday, April 25, at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig City. 

CEU, which claimed an outright semifinal spot as the second seed, withstood a last-gasp stand by the Red Lions in the fourth quarter, as Daniel Marcelo drilled a banked trey that stretched the Scorpions’ lead to 5 in the final minute   

“We don’t want to come into the game thinking that we’re the No. 2 team. I reminded them that San Beda will be a different team in the semis, and we’re still the Davids here, not the Goliaths,” said CEU coach Jeff Perlas as the Scorpions also took down San Beda in the classification round, 72-63. 

“We just have to keep believing that we belong here. Our players have to bring that David inside them, and they did,” he added. 

Marcelo dropped 14 points in the fourth quarter on the way to a 31-point performance, while Abdul-Wahab Olusesi filled the stat sheet with 15 points, 18 rebounds, 2 steals, and 5 blocks to go one win closer to the finals. 

RC Calimag led San Beda with 13 points, Jomel Puno and Bryan Sajonia each had 12, as the Red Lions now need to win two straight games to return to the D-League finals. 

Earlier, the EcoOil-La Salle Green Archers bucked a slow start and outclassed the Go Torakku-St.Clare, 85-65, in the opening game of the double-header. 

The win pulled the two-time defending champion La Salle to another trip to the D-League finals after ruling the 2022 and 2023 Aspirants’ Cups. 

The Green Archers used a 34-13 run in the second half to shut down St. Clare, which led for most of the first half. 

“Actually, this is what we discussed in the pre-game. We have to respect St. Clare as they’re capable of playing that way. Even at halftime, that’s still what I said,” said La Salle assistant coach Gian Nazario.

Mike Phillips notched 17 points and 9 rebounds, along with 6 steals and 2 blocks to lead La Salle’s run. 

La Salle’s new foreign athlete Henry Agunanne also continued to impress with 14 points, 9 rebounds, and 2 blocks. 

Guards Joshua David and CJ Austria added 12 and 11 markers, respectively, as La Salle dealt with the absence of EJ Gollena (hamstring) and Jonnel Policarpio (stomach). 

JM Estacio topscored for St. Clare with 12 points while Ryan Sual had 11 in the losing effort. 

The Scores

First Game

EcoOil-La Salle 85 – Phillips 17, Agunanne 14, David 12, Austria 11, Macalalag 8, Rubico 8, Abadam 6, Cortez 5, Gaspay 3, Alian 1, Romero 0. 

Go Torakku-St. Clare – 65 – Estacio 12, Sual 11, Galang 10, Decano 6, Cabauatan 6, Burgos 5, Ndong 5, De Guzman 4, Acosta 3, Tapenio 2, Russel 1, Balacaoac 0. 

Quarterscores: 11-13, 36-34, 70-47, 85-65.

Second Game

CEU 75 – Marcelo 31, Olusesi 15, Darbin 10, Puray 8, Diaz 5, Santos 4, Bernabe 2 Gueverra 0, Malicana 0, Mendoza 0, Gamboa 0. 

Marinerong Pilipino-San Beda 71 – Calimag RC 13, Puno 12, Sajonia 12, Payosing 8, Andrada 7, Tagle 6, Songcuya 4, Celzo 4, Royo 3, Gonzales 2, Estacio 0, Calimag Jr 0, Torres 0. 

Quarterscores: 17-20, 39-33, 54-46, 75-71.

– Rappler.com

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