|Despite being hit by game-fixing issues, undermanned CEU overcame the odds. PBA Media Group|
By Dugout Philippines
PASIG—Seven-man strong Centro Escolar University shocked Go for Gold-CSB, 84-74, Thursday at Ynares Sports Arena to progress to the 2019 PBA D-League semifinals.
Maodo Malick Diouf played his hearts out for all 40 minutes as he registered 25 points, 29 rebounds, three assists, two steals, and two blocks to deliver the goods for the Scorpions.
"I'm happy for the boys, lalo na yung naglarong seven, lalo na kay Malick. He's been our game changer sa league na ito," said coach Derrick Pumaren.
Jerome Santos added 15 points and six rebounds, while Rich Guinitaran had 11 points.
CEU now advanced to the best-of-three showdown against St. Clare College Virtual Reality in the semifinals.
The Scorpions held fort in the endgame, with Diouf dousing the Scratchers' rally from 17 points down and sliced it down to four, 68-64, at the 6:16 mark of the fourth, as the Senegalese big man commanded a 10-2 run to reinstate a 12-point lead, 78-66 with 2:34 left.
It was an emotional win for CEU, which discarded the offenders namely Judel Fuentes, Tyron Chan, Jan Formento, Christian Uri, Keanu Caballero, John Rojas, and John Lisbo.
"Yung seven players, na-involve sa game-fixing and we have strong evidences and they admitted it and they're out of the team. We cannot tolerate it," said Pumaren. "Yung game na mahal natin, parang nababoy at parang hindi tama yun. Masyadong unfair sa mga gustong maglaro."
Roosevelt Adams carried Go for Gold-CSB with 26 points and 11 rebounds, as Gab Banal collected 18 points, six boards, and six assists in the loss.
CEU 84 -- Diouf 25, Santos 15, Guinitaran 13, Bernabe 10, Diaz 10, Sunga 7, Abastillas 4.
GO FOR GOLD-CSB 74 -- Adams 26, Banal 20, Nayve 7, Santillan 6, Gutang 5, Naboa 3, Dixon 3, Pasturan 2, Leutcheu 2, Carlos 0.
Quarters: 24-20, 44-36, 66-51, 84-74.
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