CEU sets up PBA D-League Finals match against La Salle

MANILA, Philippines: Centro Escolar University (CEU) has set up a PBA D-League Aspirants’ Cup Finals match against Eco-Oil La Salle after eliminating Marinerong Pilipino-San Beda, 78-56, in their do-or-die semi finals, game three, at the Ynares Sports Arena on Thursday, May 2.

Team captain Franz Ray Diaz scattered 13 of his 21 points in the first half as the Scorpions jumped on the Red Lions and built a 43-22 lead at halftime.

However, Marinerong Pilipino-San Beda fought back as the reigning NCAA champions pulled within 11 points, 52-41, late in the third frame.

But CEU regained its composure in the final canto as the Jeff Perlas-coached team unleashed a decisive 15-6 run to build a 20-point separation on an Abdul-Wahab Olusesi dunk, 67-47, and was never threatened again.

“Every time you beat a team like San Beda, you feel like they are one of the best collegiate programs in the country and CEU is just outside the UAAP and the NCAA,” Perlas said.

“It’s really a big morale booster, not only for the players, but also for the entire CEU community,” Perlas added.

Diaz added three rebounds and four assists, while Olusesi pumped in 15 points on top of 28 huge rebounds and three blocks for CEU, which made its third appearance in the D-League Finals after finishing second in the 2017 Foundation and the Aspirants Cup 2019.

Daniel Marcelo and Jerome Santos scored 14 and 10 points respectively for the Scorpions, who drew first blood in the best-of-3 series with a 75-71 win in Game One, but conceded to the Red Lions in Game Two, 76- 84.

Jomel Puno and Bryan Sajonia scored 23 and 12 points respectively for San Beda.

CEU and La Salle begin their best-of-three finals showdown on Monday, May 6 at the FilOil EcoOil Center in San Juan.