CLOCK struck midnight on Metropac-San Beda's late rally as Centro Escolar University held on for an 80-77 victory in the 2019 PBA D-League on Monday at the Paco Arena in Manila.
Judel Fuentes buried four treys to lead the Scorpions with 20 points, capping his heroics with a crucial steal off James Canlas and the free throws that made it a three-point game in the final 2.2 seconds.
Senegalese big man Maodo Malick Diouf also unfurled a monster double-double effort of 17 points and 23 rebounds, to go with his four assists and two blocks, while Tyron Chan got 14 points and two boards in CEU's third straight win.
Down by 30, 65-35, Metropac-San Beda clawed its way back and got within one, 78-77 on a Donald Tankoua undergoal stab with 16.1 seconds remaining.
CEU sniper Chan muffed both of his freebies in the ensuing possession, leaving the door open for the Movers. But Canlas forced his way to the other end which led to Fuentes' game-deciding stop in the clutch.
"At halftime, I told the boys that even though we're up, San Beda is still a champion team," said Scorpions coach Derrick Pumaren as his side held a 44-24 halftime edge.
"If there's one team capable of coming back, it's San Beda, But we ran away from what we're doing and instead of attacking, we played tentative and played not to lose."
Tankoua led the charge for Metropac-San Beda (2-1) with 22 points and 14 rebounds, as Canlas got 21 in the loss.
Evan Nelle also had 11 points, six rebounds, and four dimes in the Movers' first defeat.
CEU 80 - Fuentes 20, Diouf 17, Chan 14, Ke. Caballero 9, Formento 9, Uri 5, Diaz 4, Lisbo 2, Rojas 0, Intic 0.
METROPAC-SAN BEDA 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.
Quarters: 20-16, 44-24, 70-52, 80-77.