Cignal-Ateneo showed its true colors in the second half to whip Valencia City Bukidnon-SSCR, 105-67, in Game 1 of their 2019 PBA D-League semifinal series Monday at Paco Arena in Manila.
Ange Kouame powered the Blue Eagles with 19 points, 13 coming in the third frame, together with 20 rebounds and four blocks as they unloaded 71 points in the second half to score the 38-point blowout.
"Coach Tab (Baldwin) just reminded our players to follow our rules on defense," said assistant coach Sandy Arespacochaga.
"There were times that we were playing individual defense and not team defense. Coach Tab wanted us to put emphasis on our defense and our players took that to heart in the third."
From a 52-all deadlock, Cignal-Ateneo went on a 14-2 tear to finish the period to take a 66-54 advantage, setting up the blowout.
Mike Nieto chipped in 12 points, Thirdy Ravena added 10 points, seven rebounds, and seven assists, and Jolo Mendoza scored 11 in the win as the Blue Eagles went on a 35-percent shooting from downtown.
Game 2 is on Thursday at Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig, with Cignal-Ateneo on the verge of advancing to the PBA D-League Finals.
RK Ilagan topped the Golden Harvest in the defeat with 24 points on a 3-of-10 shooting from threes, while Allyn Bulanadi collected 23 points and seven rebounds.
CIGNAL-ATENEO 105 -- Kouame 19, Mi. Nieto 12, Mendoza 11, Ma. Nieto 10, Ravena 10, Belangel 9, Wong 9, Mamuyac 7, Navarro 6, Andrade 6, Credo 3, Daves 2, Go 1, Tio 0, Berjay 0.
VALENCIA-SSCR 67 -- Ilagan 24, Bulanadi 23, Capobres 8, Calma 8, Dela Cruz 2, Villapando 1, Tero 1, Sumoda 0, Bonleon 0, Desoyo 0, Are 0, Altamirano 0, Loristo 0, Calahat 0.
Quarters: 17-19, 34-35, 66-54, 105-67.