ONE spot remains up for grabs in the 2019 PBA D-League semifinals and only one between Go for Gold-CSB and Centro Escolar University will catch that last ticket when they face off Thursday at Ynares Sports Arena.
The only quarterfinal series to go the distance will reach its end afte the 4 p.m. match, with the winner set to face St. Clare College Virtual Reality in the semifinals next week.
The Scratchers threw the Scorpions' twice-to-beat advantage to the trash with a gutsy 84-81 victory on Tuesday, but the Game One win did not come without a scare.
Despite a hot start spurred by Roosevelt Adams, Justin Gutang, and Santi Santillan that gave Go for Gold-CSB a 20-point advantage, CEU refused to back down and banked on Judel Fuentes and Maodo Malick Diouf to make it a game and even tie the affair at 11 in the final minute.
The Scratchers needed Gab Banal to put the game beyond reach and force this winner-take-all decider.
"We probably deserve to lose that game," an incensed coach Charles Tiu rued, hoping that his young side learn from their mistakes if they want to make it to the semis.
"When you start getting careless and not pay attention to details, that happens. So I trust our players and our staff to take care of business come Game Two."
For Scorpions mentor Derrick Pumaren, as much as the opposition caught his side offguard, that's already a thing of the past now as they aim to bounce back.
"We just have to come out and be ready to play for 40 minutes. We can't just play for 20 minutes of good basketball. I've been preaching to them that we have to play our game," he said.