CIGNAL inched closer to the PBA D-League Foundation Cup title as the Hawkeyes downed the Centro Escolar University Scorpions, 78-56, on Tuesday in the opener of the best-of-three finals at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig.
Despite missing the services of big man Raymar Jose, the Hawkeyes showed no signs of slowing down as they jumped to a 24-6 lead.
The Aspirants' Cup champions were never threatened and are one win away from compleing a sweep of the two titles in the developmental league this season.
Jason Perkins stepped up big in the absence of Jose, who is with Gilas Pilipinas in the Southeast Asian Games in Malaysia.
Perkins had 14 of his 16 points in the first half and also had 11 rebounds.
John Villarias topscored for the Hawkeyes with 17 points, Mark Bringas added 13 and Oping Sumalinog had 11 markers.
Game Two is on Thursday at 5 p.m.
"Right now I'm happy my players stepped up their game today. Hopefully we can be consistent. Winning Game One is a good motivation for us," said Cignal coach Boyet Fernandez.
Rod Ebondo had 27 points and 17 rebounds, while Rich Guinitaran was the only other CEU player to score in double figures with 10 points.
Aaron Jeruta was limited to three markers, while Orlan Wamar and JK Casiño wound up scoreless.
Cignal HD 78 - Villarias 17, Perkins 16, Bringas 13, Sumalinog 11, Batino 8, Uyloan 6, Sara 4, Raymundo 3, Apinan 0, Arboleda 0, Arong 0, Belencion 0, Cahilig 0.
CEU 56 - Ebondo 27, Guinitaran 10, Aquino 6, Manlangit 4, Jeruta 3, Arim 2, Saber 2, Uri 2, Casiño 0, Cruz 0, Fuentes 0, Intic 0, Wamar 0.
Quarterscores: 24-11; 39-25; 59-43; 78-56.