CIGNAL held off Centro Escolar University, 96-89, to gain an outright semifinals berth in the PBA D-League Foundation Cup on Tuesday at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig.
John Villarias was at the forefront of the team's attack with 19 points for the Hawkeyes, who tightened their grip on the second spot with an 8-2 record.
Jason Perkins scored 18 points, including the game-sealing breakaway layup, to go with 10 rebounds. Pamboy Raymundo also made the key baskets down the stretch as he dropped five of his 11 points to give the Hawkeyes a 92-85 cushion with less than a minute left.
"I'd have to give credit to the preparation of coach Boyet (Fernandez)," said assistant coach Jude Roque, who called the shots in Tuesday's victory.
"We were fortunate we had a lot of time scouting them. Boyet was on top of preparations. I just carried out the game plan. Fortunately the boys delivered."
Aaron Jeruta scored 23 points, while Rod Ebondo had the same number of points with eight rebounds and four assists for the Scorpions, who dropped to 5-4.
JK Casino added 15 markers.
CIGNAL HD 96 - Villarias 19, Perkins 18, Sumalinog 13, Raymundo 11, Jose 10, Bringas 8, Arong 5, Cahilig 5, Sara 3, Batino 2, Arboleda 2, Belencion 0.
CEU 89 - Ebondo 23, Jeruta 23, Casiño 15, Guinitaran 8, Cruz 7, Wamar 7, Uri 2, Manlangit 2, Arim 2, Aquino 0, Fuentes 0, Intic 0.
Quarters: 21-28, 48-44, 71-65, 96-89.