CENTRO Escolar University’s improbable run continued as it advanced to the PBA D-League championship round following an 89-72 romp of St. Clare-Virtual Reality yesterday at the Ynares Sports Arena.
The seven-man Scorpions won the best-of-three semifinals series, 2-1, to make it to the Finals for the second time in three years.
A gargantuan task is facing eight-man CEU in the best-of-five title series as it will take on powerhouse Cignal-Ateneo starting tomorrow at the Filoil Flying V Centre. Both teams, which are in different brackets, will face off for the first time this season.
Rich Guinitaran led the Scorpions with 23 points while unheralded Dave Bernabe played the game of his life with a double-double outing of 22 points and 14 rebounds to go with five steals.
“Puso lang. Maglaro lang na may puso para manalo.” said Bernabe.
CEU, which rebounded from last Thursday’s 50-84 blowout loss, displayed no-quit attitude.
Trailing by one at the half, the Scorpions broke away in the first 4:13 in the third period, as Bernabe scored a putback off a Guinitaran miss for their first double-digit lead, 52-41.
Senegal’s Malick Diouf then capped CEU’s dominant third period with five straight points to build a 67-52 advantage heading into the last 10 minutes of play.
“Maganda ang depensa namin kaya nakuha namin,” said Bernabe.
CEU (89) — Guinitaran 23, Bernabe 22, Diouf 14, Sunga 12, Santos 8, Diaz 7, Abastillas 3.
St. Clare (72) — Hallare 19, Fontanilla 16, Pare 11, Lunor 7, Tiquia 7, Santos 6, Ambulodto 4, Rubio 2, Penaredondo 0.
Quarterscores: 16-21, 38-39, 67-52, 89-72