Cignal-San Beda downed Racal Ceramica, 93-85, in Game 1 of the best-of-three championship series of the 2017 Philippine Basketball Association D-League Aspirants’ Cup on Thursday at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig City.
Jayson Perkins notched a conference-high 28 points and eight rebounds to lead the Hawkeyes, who are now a win away of claiming the crown.
Pamboy Raymundo chipped in 21 markers while Robert Bolick Jr. netted 19 points and five boards for Cignal, which dictated the tempo from the get go before withstanding a mini run of the Tile Masters.
“A team like Racal is capable of coming back. But again, it is really the boys who really stepped up today,” said Cignal coach Boyet Ferandez, who is now one win away of pocketing his seventh D-League title.
“We are happy we get this one but we only got one game. We still need to beat Racal one more game,” he added.
The Hawkeyes erected a 21-point lead early in the third frame, 57-36, before the Tile Masters sliced the gap to 15, 74-59, entering the final canto.
But Racal’s Kent Salado sprained his right knee in the opening minute of the fourth period that left Rey Nambatac to lead the rally of the Tile Masters that resulted in an 81-86 lead with 2:26 remaining.
But Perkins and Raymundo came through with clutch baskets for Cignal to douse the comeback and take a 1-0 series lead.
Nambatac led Racal with 23 points and six boards while Jackson Corpuz and Sidney Onwubere had 15 and 14 points, respectively.
The Hawkeyes will try to wrap up the series with a win in Game 2 on Monday at the Fil-Oil Flying V Center in San Juan City.