Jason Perkins anchored Cignal HD’s fiery start- en route to a lopsided 78-56 victory over Centro Escolar University (CEU) in Game 1 of the best-of-three finals of the 2017 Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) D-League Foundation Cup on Tuesday at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig City.
Perkins scored half of his total 16 points in the opening frame. The Hawkeyes are now leading 1-0 in the finals series.
Cignal HD Coach Boyet Fernandez lauded Perkins performance as the former La Salle forward stepped up big to fill the void vacated by Raymar Jose, who is playing for Gilas Pilipinas in the ongoing Southeast Asian Games in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
“Jason knows that he is really important and integral part of this team. The challenge of stepping up is there. I commend all my players, especially Jason, who really stepped up their game today,” said Fernandez.
“We did stick to our game plan. We execute really well in our offense. Hopefully, we will be consistent on our game on Thursday,” added the seven-time D-League champion coach.
Perkins added 11 rebounds while Byron Villarias connected 17 markers, seven boards and two assists for Cignal, which is one win away from sweeping the D-League season.
Mark Anthony Bringas chipped in 13 points and 10 rebounds while Chris Sumalinog netted 11 markers and six boards for the Hawkeyes, who took a 24-6 lead early before settling for a 39-25 halftime lead.
The Scorpions threatened at 39-53 but that was the closest they could get as the Hawkeyes continued with their assault to score a wire-to-wire win.
“It’s not yet over. We know that CEU is capable of coming back. I’m sure they will find a way. Winning Game One is really a good motivation for us going to Game Two,” said Fernandez.
Congolese import Rod Ebondo topscored for the Scorpions with game-high 27 points on top his of 17 rebounds while Rich Guinitaran added 10 markers.