MANILA, Philippines – Cignal-Ateneo and Centro Escolar University (CEU) both aim to go on the hill when they face off in Game 3 of the 2019 PBA D-League finals on Thursday at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig City.
Game time is at 4 p.m., with the winner closing in on the D-League crown.
For the Scorpions, this is a chance for them to prove that their 77-74 triumph in Game 2 last Tuesday was no fluke.
Jerome Santos and Rich Guinitaran stepped up in that game to help Maodo Malick Diouf and the rest of CEU avoid the sweep and make a series out of it.
That inspiring win from the seven-man Scorpions team showed why they are in the championship round despite playing undermanned, digging deep to pull off the upset -- one which they hope to replicate in Game 3 of the best-of-5 series.
CEU coach Derrick Pumaren is now expecting a bounce-back performance from the Blue Eagles.
"I'm sure that Ateneo will be back more aggressive for Game 3," he said. "They want to jump on us so we just have to be ready for them."
Blue Eagles deputy coach Sandy Arespacochaga, meanwhile, gave credit where credit is due as he surrendered that the Scorpions just had a better gameplan that allowed them to level the best-of-five series.
"CEU played great, and we didn't come to play. There were a lot of lapses on our part, and a lot of great plays from CEU," he said. "But the key for us is learning from the game and coming to Thursday with proper adjustments. We're looking to bounce back from this game."
Senior forward Isaac Go missed last game and remains a gametime decision for Cignal-Ateneo.
Despite his absence, ready to get back on the court will be Ivorian slotman Ange Kouame and leading Conference MVP contender Thirdy Ravena.
The award is set to be given before Game 3, with Ravena in contention along with the Valencia City Bukidnon-SSCR duo of RK Ilagan and Allyn Bulanadi.
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