Jason Perkins made sure that there wouldn’t be any let-ups for the Cignal HD Hawkeyes, towing his side to a commanding 78-56, Game 1 conquest over the Centro Escolar University Scorpions to gain a headstart in the 2017 PBA D-League Foundation Cup Finals, Tuesday evening at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig City.
The hardworking forward made sure that the Hawkeyes wouldn’t feel the absence of center Raymar Jose, catching fire in the first period to help his side erect an early 24-6 opening salvo.
Perkins fired eight of his 16 points in the frame, to go with 11 rebounds, as the hot start set the tone for the game and allowed Cignal to cruise to the 1-0 lead in the best-of-three series.
“Jason knows that he’s a very important part of this team. It shows that he’s always been stepping up for us. We know that the challenge of stepping up is there, and I commend all my players today, especially Jason,” said coach Boyet Fernandez.
With Perkins in control of the game, the other Hawkeyes followed suit, as Byron Villarias went on a 6-of-8 shooting clip to rack a team-high 17 markers and seven boards, and Mark Bringas contributing 13 points and 10 rebounds.
Pamboy Raymundo also orchestrated the rout, dishing out seven assists to go with his three markers and a board.
The Scorpions tried to claw their way back and were able to slice the lead down to 12, 37-25, late in the second period, but timely buckets from Bringas cut short the uprising as the Hawkeyes went on cruise control up until the final buzzer.
Cignal are now a win away from winning back-to-back championships in the PBA D-League, a feat only previously achieved by the Fernandez-mentored NLEX Road Warriors and last season’s Phoenix Accelerators.
Congolese big man Rod Ebondo led CEU with 27 points, 17 rebounds, and two blocks, while Rich Guinitaran also got 10 markers in the defeat.
Game 2 is on Thursday at 5 p.m., still at Ynares Sports Arena.
Cignal HD 78 – Villarias 17, Perkins 16, Bringas 13, Sumalinog 11, Batino 8, Uyloan 6, Sara 4, Raymundo 3, Apinan 0, Arboleda 0, Arong 0, Belencion 0, Cahilig 0.
CEU 56 – Ebondo 27, Guinitaran 10, Aquino 6, Manlangit 4, Jeruta 3, Arim 2, Saber 2, Uri 2, Casiño 0, Cruz 0, Fuentes 0, Intic 0, Wamar 0.
Quarterscores: 24-11, 39-25, 59-43, 78-56.