CIGNAL-Ateneo, bucking the absence of Thirdy Ravena, overpowered Go for Gold-CSB, 103-75, for a smashing PBA D-League debut yesterday at the Ynares Sports Arena.
The Blue Eagles are living up to their lofty billing as pre-season favorites, as the reigning UAAP champions pulled away in the second period to chalk up their first win in the Aspirants Group.
Later, City of Valencia Bukidnon-San Sebastian squandered a 14-point lead in regulation but regrouped in overtime to beat Marinerong Pilipino, 110-104, and post a winning start.
Playing its second off-season tournament, Ateneo coach Tab Baldwin is on an adjustment period on the D-League style of play but was satisfied on the way his team performed.
“Offensively, I was surprised we played pretty well," said Baldwin. "The guys played very efficiently. That's the good thing. Today was a good example of that. This is first D-League game I have ever been. I'm happy that we got a good win."
Ravena missed the opener due to academic commitments, but Adrian Wong was able to fill the void with 17 points, five rebounds and four assists.
Isaac Go went 4-of-6 from the three-point area to lead Cignal with 21 points, Matt Nieto had 14 points and seven assists, while Ivorian big man Ange Kouame had a double-double outing of 13 points and 18 rebounds to go with four blocks.
After forcing a Golden Harvest turnover, the Skippers were able to send the game into overtime, as Art Aquino scored a putback at the buzzer.
City of Valencia Bukidnon then went on a telling 8-2 tear in the first three minutes of extension capped by a Allyn Bulanadi for a 108-102 advantage.
“Hindi nag-give up ang mga bata and that's the thing that's I'm very happy about," said Golden Harvest coach Egay Macaraya.
Justin Gutang paced the Scratchers with 21 points, three rebounds and two steals while Yankie Haruna was the other player in twin digits with 11 markers.
Go for Gold, last year's Foundation Cup champion, led briefly, 6-4.
Cignal (103) -- Go 21, Wong 17, Ma. Nieto 14, Kouame 13, Mi. Nieto 9, Navarro 9, Belangel 9, Daves 6, Credo 5.
Go for Gold (75) -- Gutang 21, Haruna 11, Belgica 9, Pasturan 8, Naboa 7, Young 6, Dixon 6, Carlos 5, Leutcheu 2, Nayve 0.
Quarterscores: 20-14, 49-26, 80-55, 103-75
Valencia Bukidnon (110) -- Bulanadi 32, Ilagan 28, Calma 9, Villapando 8, Capobres 7, Dela Cruz 6, Are 5, Altamirano 5, Sumoda 4, Desoyo 3, Bonleon 3, Calahat 0, Tero 0, Loristo 0.
Marinerong Pilipino (104) -- Ayonayon 23, Aquino 19, Wamar 15, Rodriguez 15, Santillan 12, Asistio 9, Mendoza 6, Reyes 3, Serrano 2, Victoria 0, Bonifacio 0, Buñag 0.
Quarterscores: 30-26, 50-53, 78-68, 100-100, 110-104.