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    Cignal-Ateneo, CEU go for sweeps in PBA D-League semis

    Jun 5, 2019
    PHOTO: Dante Peralta

    CIGNAL-Ateneo looks to sweep Valencia City Bukidnon-SSCR in their 2019 PBA D-League semifinals with Game Two slated on Thursday at Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig.

    The Blue Eagles were quick to assert themselves, taking a 105-67 Game One win over the Golden Harvest on Monday.

    "We're not expecting an easy game. The final score doesn't show the fight our opponents have and the fight they have left. We'll prepare for them and they deserve the best cause they're a good team," said deputy coach Sandy Arespacochaga ahead of the 2 p.m. tiff.

    Ivorian slotman Ange Kouame will lead the fight for Cignal-Ateneo, together with seniors Thirdy Ravena and brothers Matt and Mike Nieto.

    Valencia-SSCR, meanwhile, needs to find ways to help Allyn Bulanadi and RK Ilagan.

    Centro Escolar University also tries to continue its fine run as it tries to sweep St. Clare College Virtual Reality.

    The seven-man Scorpions squad, decimated after a game-fixing scandal, hope to finish off the Saints in teh 4 p.m. game.

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    "Sana matapos na. It's been a torture for us," said coach Derrick Pumaren. "We have to maintain the competitiveness in ourselves, the heart, and the fight every time when we step there. We just got to come out and play the game."

    The Scorpions again lean on Senegalese big man Maodo Malick Diouf, who grabbed a PBA D-League record 33 rebounds and scored 19 points in the 76-75 Game One win.

    He'll be joined by Rich Guinitaran, Kurt Sunga, and Franz Diaz in their attempt to bring the Scorpions back to the championship for the first time since the 2017 Foundation Cup.

    The Saints, meanwhile, hope to force a decider after squandering their chance in the opener.

    "Wala na kaming choice kundi manalo, kaya susubukan naming makuha yung laro sa Thursday," said coach Jinino Manansala as he leans on Junjie Hallare, Irven Palencia, and Joshua Fontanilla to send the best-of-three series to a decider.

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    PHOTO: Dante Peralta
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