MANILA, Philippines -- BRT Sumisip Basilan St. Clare repulsed Centro Escolar University, 86-70, to move a win away from a Finals spot in the 2019 PBA D-League Foundation Cup Finals Thursday at Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig.
Malian slotman Mohammed Pare paced the Saints with 19 points and seven rebounds in the victory that put them in a prime position to sweep the best-of-three semifinals series.
Joshua Fontanilla filled up the stat sheet with 14 points, six assists, and five rebounds, while Junjie Hallare and Jhaps Bautista provided 11 and 10 markers, respectively.
"Sa start pa lang mas aggressive kami," said coach Stevenson Tiu. "Ine-expect ko mas aggressive sila pero first quarter pa lang, nakita ko na controlled na namin 'yung game."
The Saints seized control of the game via an 11-0 run bridging the second and third quarters. That turned what had been a narrow 40-37 lead in the second frame to a commanding 51-37 spread early in the third quarter.
It was not all smooth sailing as CEU trimmed St. Clare's lead to five points, 55-50, with 4:28 to go in the same frame.
But Bautista and Leo Gabo made sure that the win was in the bag, taking over in the payoff period and giving the Saints a commanding 82-64 lead with 3:04 remaining to cruise to their eighth straight victory.
BRT Sumisip-St. Clare aims to finish things off in Game Two on Monday.
Senegalese center Malick Diouf carried CEU in the losing cause with 12 points, 15 rebounds, six steals, four assists, and three blocks.
Jerome Santos was the only other double-digit scorer for the Scorpions with 11 points.
BRT SUMISIP-ST. CLARE 86 -- Pare 19, Fontanilla 14, Hallare 11, Bautista 10, Collado 9, Dumapig 8, Gabo 7, Rubio 5, Manacho 3, Penaredondo 0, Batino 0.
CEU 70 -- Diouf 12, Santos 11, Guinitaran 8, Diaz 8, Tuadles 8, Sunga 7, Escalona 6, Bernabe 5, Tagal 5, De Ocampo 0, Murillo 0, Espiritu 0.
Quarters: 21-23, 46-37, 65-55, 86-70.
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