In a battle of collegiate champions, NCRAA titleholders Centro Escolar University weathered a late surge by NCAA kingpins Metropac-San Beda to come away with the 80-77 win in the 2019 PBA D-League on Monday at Paco Arena in Manila.
Judel Fuentes fired 20 points built on four triples, and had the game-sealing steal on James Canlas. He then went on and iced the game at the free throw line with 2.2 ticks left, to help the Scorpions rise to 3-0 in the Foundation Group.
Senegalese bruiser Maodo Malick Diouf added a double-double of 17 points and 23 rebounds, to go with his four assists and two blocks. Tyron Chan had 14 points and two boards in the win.
“I’m still proud with the way the boys played. At least, we can say that we’re at-par with them,” said Pumaren. “I give it to the boys. We kept our poise in the end and made stops when we needed them.”
CEU needed to survive a scare from Metropac-San Beda. The latter waged a rally from 30-points down, 65-35, and got to within one, 78-77, after Donald Tankoua scored down low in the final 16.1 seconds.
The window remained open for the Movers when Scorpions shooter Chan missed both of his free throws on the other end. But Canlas then forced the issue on the other end, which led to his side’s demise.
AC Soberano’s desperation three at the buzzer fell nowhere near the ring, as CEU stunned the NCAA champions Metropac-San Beda.
“At halftime, I told the boys that even though we’re up, San Beda is still a champion team. If there’s one team capable of coming back, it’s San Beda,” said Pumaren, after the Scorpions got hold of a 44-24 halftime lead.
The Movers suffered their first loss of the season to drop to 2-1.
Tankoua pumped 22 points and 14 rebounds, while Canlas had 21 for Metropac-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-SBU 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.
Quarterscores: 20-16, 44-24, 70-52, 80-77.