<
>

Cignal-Ateneo blasts Batangas-EAC, Valencia-SSCR boosts playoff bid

Cignal-Ateneo progressed to the 2019 PBA D-League playoffs with a 44-point evisceration of Batangas-EAC, 90-46, Thursday at Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig.

Matt Nieto was at the forefront of the beatdown, unloading 10 of his 16 points in the first half to slowly pull away from a tight 16-9 affair. He also had two rebounds and two assists for the Blue Eagles.

Tyler Tio poured 19 points as he shot 4-of-9 from downtown to lead Cignal-Ateneo to its fifth straight victory to rise to 7-1.

William Navarro recorded a double-double with his 13 points, 11 rebounds, and two blocks, Mike Nieto had himself 10 points and three boards, as Isaac Go finished with 11 and six as well as giving the Blue Eagles their biggest advantage at 48, 88-40, with a pair of free throws in the last 2:12.

"It was a physical game and I think that's certainly their formula with dealing with our big guys. But I told the players to play through that and play good basketball, and that's what we focused on," said coach Tab Baldwin.

Batangas-EAC bowed out of the playoff race as it fell to 2-6.

JP Maguliano was the lone player to notch double-digits in scoring with his 12 points and six rebounds in the defeat.

In the second game, Valencia City Bukidnon-SSCR clobbered Perpetual, 106-75, to inch closer to a playoff berth.

RK Ilagan torched the opposition with his 4-of-9 sniping from deep as he fired 27 points, seven rebounds, seven assists, and two steals.

The 22-year-old led the Golden Harvest's 33-point third quarter eruption as he had 13 in that stretch to turn the game from a 48-40 lead at the half to a decisive 81-56 advantage at the end of the period.

"So far, we've seen RK's game has matured. Unlike before when it was just offense. Now he's organizing the team," said coach Egay Macaraya.

Ilagan's explosion allowed Valencia-SSCR to move up to joint second place at 5-1 in the Foundation Group.

Allyn Bulanadi also had his imprint with 18 points, seven rebounds, six assists, three steals, and two blocks, while JM Calma tallied a double-double with his 14 points, 10 rebounds, and three steals.

"Everybody stepped up and the team showed its character," added Macaraya.

Jielo Razon anchored the Altas with 19 points, six rebounds, and two assists, but that wasn't enough from saving his side to their third straight loss to fall to 1-5.