The CEU Scorpions’ Jerome Santos pulls up for a shot versus Ateneo’s Angelo Kouame
PBA D-League
Shorthanded CEU rallies to beat Ateneo
John Bryan Ulanday (The Philippine Star) - June 19, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Amazing Centro Escolar University pulled off yet another miracle win, this time at the expense of mighty Cignal-Ateneo, 77-74, in Game Two of their PBA D-League best-of-five titular series yesterday at the Ynares Sports Arena.

Unheralded forward Jerome Santos came through with the biggest game of his career, exploding for 28 points on top of 10 rebounds as the shorthanded Scorpions stunned the Eagles and almost everybody at the Pasig City playing venue with their epic come-from-behind victory.

Senegalese big man Maodo Malick Diouf also came up with a big game with 23 markers, 16 rebounds, four assists and two steals while team skipper Rich Guinitaran added 13 points, two assists and two blocks as the Scorpions tied the series at one game apiece.

“We’re able to redeem ourselves. We’re able to show a championship game. You have to give it to the boys. They fought for this game,” said coach Derrick Pumaren, after they avenged their lopsided 66-101 loss in Game One.

“We have to keep that motivation from within. I just told the boys that they have to believe in themselves, that they can compete against Ateneo. I just wanted that fire and the competitiveness in them. We showed it in this game,” Pumaren added.

Reduced to eight players since the quarterfinals, the resilient CEU displayed a fight for the ages.

Returning from the 35-point Game One loss, the Scorpions started flat anew, staring at a 22-38 deficit in the second frame.

But CEU refused to roll over and die as it launched a telling uprising in the second half led by the troika of Santos, Diouf and Guinitaran to storm ahead at 65-55 in the 5:12 mark of the payoff period.

Ateneo answered with a 19-10 salvo to move within 74-75 after Ange Koaume’s layup in the last 22.2 seconds before France Diaz iced the win with two pressure-packed freebies in their the next possession.

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