CIGNAL-Ateneo outclassed Che'Lu Bar and Grill in the payoff period to pull off a tough 102-88 victory in the 2019 PBA D-League Monday at JCSGO Gym in Cubao.
Thirdy Ravena had 24 points, seven rebounds and four assists as the Blue Eagles came out triumphant in the highly-physical battle to lock up a top two spot in the Aspirants Group with their 8-1 win-loss card.
That also secured Cignal-Ateneo a twice-to-beat advantage in the playoffs.
Ivorian center Ange Kouame had 18 points, 16 rebounds and four blocks, as Adrian Wong got six of his 17 points in the fourth-quarter pullaway.
Blue Eagles coach Tab Baldwin commended his wards for pulling through despite the testy environment they found themselves in against the Revellers.
"I think it got into our heads a little bit and we didn't execute a lot of good basketball actions and it's something we can learn from. I'm just happy that we're able to hold our ground," he said.
Emotions ran on a high midway through the payoff period when Chris Dumapig was called for a flagrant foul penalty one for his elbow on William Navarro that led to Baldwin and Che'Lu forward Stephen Siruma engaging in a verbal altercation.
But that only fueled Cignal-Ateneo to finally put the nail in the coffin from a slim eight-point advantage, 82-74, to a commanding 93-77 after a Ravena layup with 3:36 to play.
Jhaps Bautista paced Che'Lu with 21 points, making 3 of 6 3-point attempts, while Philip Manalang got 20 points off the bench.
The Revellers suffered back-to-back losses to drop to an even 3-3 card in the group.
Cignal-Ateneo 102 - Ravena 24, Kouame 18, Wong 17, Navarro 12, Mendoza 12, Belangel 8, Go 5, Berjay 4, Mamuyac 2.
Che’Lu 88 - Bautista 21, P. Manalang 20, Bringas 15, Suerte 8, Taganas 6, Viernes 4, Collado 4, Dumapig 4, Siruma 3, Gabo 3, Ng 0.
Quarterscores: 21-14; 48-36; 71-65; 102-88.