CENTRO Escolar University hopes to score a repeat against Cignal-Ateneo in Game 3 of the PBA D-League championship series today at the Ynares Sports Arena.
Relishing their role as the ultimate underdog, the undermanned Scorpions shocked the powerhouse Blue Eagles, 77-74, to level the best-of-five series last Tuesday.
Many thought that the Finals will be a cakewalk for Cignal-Ateneo, but CEU has other plans.
Now the Scorpions have the opportunity to take the lead in the 4 p.m. contest, something that looked impossible to achieve by a team of only seven players.
But coach Derrick Pumaren is wary of a big Eagles fightback to regain the upperhand in the series, warning his team for a tough grind ahead.
“I’m sure that Ateneo will be back more aggressive for Game Three,” said Pumaren said.
Cignal-Ateneo deputy coach Sandy Arespacochaga, admitted that CEU had a better game plan in Game 2.
The Eagles were caught off-guard, when the Scorpions drew a huge game from unheralded forward Jerome Santos, who produced a double-double outing of 28 points and 10 rebounds.
“CEU played great, and we didn’t come to play. There were a lot of lapses on our part, and a lot of great plays from CEU,” said Arespacochaga.
Senegalese big man Maodo Malick Diouf remained solid upfront in the series-tying win with 23 points, 16 boards, four steals, two assists, and two blocks, while Rich Guinitaran chipped in 13 points, two assists, and two blocks for the Scorpions.
Forward Isaac Go, who played a huge role in Cignal-Ateneo’s series-opening 101-66 victory, missed last game and remains a game time decision for Cignal-Ateneo.
“But the key for us is learning from the game and coming to Thursday with proper adjustments. We’re looking to bounce back from this game,” said Arespacochaga.