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    Cignal-Ateneo eyes early D-League lead as Eagles battle Enderun Titans

    Feb 24, 2019

    CIGNAL-Ateneo looks to continue its flight atop the 2019 PBA D-League when it meets Family Mart-Enderun on Monday at Paco Arena in Manila.

    The Blue Eagles went off in their season opener last Feb. 14, blasting Go for Gold-CSB, 103-75, in the Aspirants Group.

    The performance surprised coach Tab Baldwin, considering the internal rebuild he has subjected his side to in the offseason.

    "We've for some guys in our roster that we're reconstructing their shots. We're not doing a lot, really, but the guys played very efficiently for us and that's one thing I really liked," said the former national team coach.

    Isaac Go, Matt Nieto, Adrian Wong and Ivorian center Ange Kouame had a rousing debut in the developmental league, though Cignal-Ateneo will miss the services of Thirdy Ravena for the second straight game with the high-flying swingman still with Gilas Pilipinas.

    Family Mart-Enderun, though, is raring to prove that it belongs in the big leagues as coach Pipo Noundou banks on Mark Nunez, Valandre Chauca and Cameroonian slotman Colince Wabo.

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    Backstopping the Titans are ex-pros Fonzo Gotladera and Marvin Hayes.

    Gametime is at 2 p.m., followed by the Foundation Group clash of Chadao-FEU and Valencia City Bukidnon-SSCR at 4 p.m.

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    Coach Olsen Racela was glad the Tamaraws wee able to get their campaign off on the right foot, scoring an 84-62 rout of SMDC-NU.

    "We're here to get exposure for the players. It's another opportunity for us to get better," he said, with Alec Stockton and L-Jay Gonzales stepping up for their side.

    But what awaits them is a dangerous Valencia-SSCR crew, which is rich in experience with Allyn Bulanadi and RK Ilagan leading the way.

    The duo were pivotal in the Golden Harvest's 110-104 overtime thriller over Marinerong Pilipino, and coach Egay Macaraya already sees bright things ahead with the two at the forefront of the battle.

    "I guess yun ang bini-build namin ngayon, building character ng Baste," he said.

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