ANGE Kouame righted the ship for Cignal-Ateneo as it bucked a slow start to deal St. Clare College Virtual Reality its first defeat in the 2019 PBA D-League, 88-66, on Tuesday at JCSGO Gym in Cubao.
The Ivorian center pumped 11 of Ateneo’s 37-point third-quarter, finishing the game with a flurry.
Cignal-Ateneo was staring at a 46-28 deficit before staging a killer 31-7 tear capped off by a Mike Nieto three-point play that gave the Eagles a 59-53 lead with 2:02 remaining.
That's just the confidence boost the Blue Eagles needed as they rode that wave of momentum to the fourth quarter en route to the 22-point victory.
Kouame came one board shy of tying the record for most rebounds in a PBA D-League game, grabbing 29 boards, 15 on the offensive end, on top of 24 points and five blocks. CEU's Maodo Malick Diouf owns the record with 30 rebounds.
Isaac Go also drilled three treys and wound up with 11 points and three rebounds, Thirdy Ravena got 10 points, five rebounds and two steals, while Adrian Wong also scored 10.
"Our halftime talk was direct to the point, that we weren't doing what we said we'll do before the game," frankly admitted coach Tab Baldwin. "We didn't really make any adjustments and we just went back to basics, play like they wanted to win the game and played like any good team."
Cignal-Ateneo’s third straight win put the Eagles in solo second place in the Aspirants Group at 5-1.
Darwin Lunor led St. Clare with 12 points and 16 rebounds, while Paul Santos also scored 12. The Saints dropped to 4-1.
Cignal-Ateneo 88 - Kouame 24, Go 11, Ravena 10, Wong 10, Verano 8, Ma. Nieto 6, Mi. Nieto 5, Navarro 4, Tio 3, Belangel 3, Credo 2, Daves 2, Andrade 0, Mamuyac 0, Berjay 0.
St. Clare 66 - Lunor 12, Santos 12, Hallare 11, Fontanilla 10, Pare 9, Rivera 8, Palencia 4, Ambuludto 0, Fuentes 0, Manacho 0, De Leon 0.
Quarterscores: 16-16; 28-44; 65-55; 88-66.