CIGNAL built a huge early lead that was enough to overcome a late slip and the Hawkeyes scored an 86-67 victory over Marinerong Pilipino in Game One of their PBA D-League Foundation Cup semifinal series on Thursday at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig.
Raymar Jose, a member of the Gilas Pilipinas squad that is preparing for the Southeast Asian Games in Kuala Lumpur, played extended minutes and scored 17 points to go with eight rebounds.
"I'm thankful to Raymar. I was forced to play him for the entire third quarter and he did his job," said Cignal coach Boyet Fernandez.
Jason Perkins added 13 points and 17 boards, Jason Villarias scored 13 and Oping Sumalinog added 12 markers.
The Hawkeyes, who are now a win away from clinching a finals seat, jumped to a comfortable 34-14 lead in the opening quarter and led by as many as 24 points.
They saw the lead sliced to 12 in the closing minutes of the final period after the Skippers employed a full-court press.
But Jose restored order with a floater before Sumalinog drained a triple for a 80-63 lead.
Pao Javelona was the lone Skipper who finished in double figures with 11 points.
Game Two of the best-of-three series is set on Tuesday.
Cignal HD 86 - Jose 17, Perkins 13, Villarias 13, Sumalinog 12, Arboleda 6, Bringas 6, Cahilig 6, Raymundo 5, Batino 4, Sara 4, Apinan 0, Uyloan 0.
Marinerong Pilipino 67 - Javelona 11, Sargent 8, Subido 8, Moralde 7, Herndon 6, Lopez 6, Iñigo 5, Marata 5, Alabanza 3, Isip 3, Javillonar 3, Gabriel 2.
Quarterscores: 34-14; 48-29; 65-45; 86-67.