The Cignal-Ateneo Blue Eagles snagged the first twice-to-beat advantage in the 2019 PBA D-League playoffs with a gritty 102-88 win over the Che’Lu Bar and Grill Revellers Monday at JCSGO Gym in Cubao.
Thirdy Ravena steered his side to the victory with 24 points, seven rebounds, and four assists. The Blue Eagles finish the eliminations at 8-1, locking up at least a top-two finish in the Aspirants Group.
Ivorian slotman Ange Kouame clocked 18 points, 16 rebounds, and four blocks. Meanwhile, Adrian Wong helped Cignal-Ateneo finish off Che’Lu with six points in the fourth period, to wind up with 17.
Things got chippy with 5:39 left in the fourth when Chris Dumapig was whistled for a flagrant foul penalty one for his hit on William Navarro. The incident then escalated to a verbal tussle between coach Tab Baldwin and Stephen Siruma.
That exchange only lit a fire under the Blue Eagles, who turned an eight-point lead, 82-74, to a 16-point edge, 93-77, with 3:36 remaining.
“I think it got into our heads a little bit and we didn’t execute a lot of good basketball actions, and it’s something we can learn from. I’m just happy that we’re able to hold our ground,” said Baldwin, reflecting on the heightened physicality of the affair.
Jhaps Bautista uncorked 21 points on a 3-of-6 shooting from deep to lead Che’Lu in the defeat. Meanwhile, Philip Manalang had 20.
That loss sent the Revellers to a 3-3 standing, on the outside looking in the top four of the group.
Cignal-Ateneo 102 — Ravena 24, Kouame 18, Wong 17, Navarro 12, Mendoza 12, Belangel 8, Go 5, Berjay 4, Mamuyac 2.
Che’Lu 88 — Bautista 21, P. Manalang 20, Bringas 15, Suerte 8, Taganas 6, Viernes 4, Collado 4, Dumapig 4, Siruma 3, Gabo 3, Ng 0.
Quarterscores: 21-14, 48-36, 71-65, 102-88.