The Cignal HD Hawkeyes booked the last outright semifinals seat in the Foundation Cup, eking out a 96-89 triumph over the Centro Escolar University Scorpions, Tuesday evening at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig City.
Behind Jason Perkins’ 18 points, 10 rebounds, and three assists, the Hawkeyes claimed their sixth straight victory and rose up to 8-2, good for the second seed in the standings.
The hardworking forward triggered Cignal’s decisive 10-0 charge late in the third quarter, turning a 60-59 deficit to a 69-60 advantage before fending off the Scorpions’ numerous rallies in the fourth frame.
“I guess we were fortunate because we had a very long preparation. We had a lot of time scouting them, but it was still a struggle against them. But the boys delivered and we got the win,” said coach Jude Roque, who was filling in for head coach Boyet Fernandez, who steered San Beda to an 81-74 win over Letran.
“Coach Boyet was still on top of everything and I just carried on whatever game plan he had for the team. I have to give credit to coach Boyet because it was him who prepared the players,” the Red Lions’ team manager furthered.
Byron Villarias paced the Hawkeyes with 19 markers on a 5-of-10 clip from threes, to go with five boards and two assists, while Oping Sumalinog got 13 points.
Rod Ebondo unfurled 23 points, eight rebounds, and four assists for CEU (5-4), while Aaron Jeruta also had 23 markers, six assists, and four boards.
The Scorpions will now fight for their survival on Tuesday when they take on the Racal Motor Alibabas.
Cignal HD 96 – Villarias 19, Perkins 18, Sumalinog 13, Raymundo 11, Jose 10, Bringas 8, Arong 5, Cahilig 5, Sara 3, Batino 2, Arboleda 2, Belencion 0.
CEU 89 – Ebondo 23, Jeruta 23, Casiño 15, Guinitaran 8, Cruz 7, Wamar 7, Uri 2, Manlangit 2, Arim 2, Aquino 0, Fuentes 0, Intic 0.
Quarterscores: 21-28, 48-44, 71-65, 96-89.