Coach Charles Tiu was all smiles after his Go For Gold-College of St. Benilde outlasted the heavily favored Centro Escolar University (CEU) in overtime, 91-89, midway in the elimination round of the Philippine Basketball Association Developmental League (PBA D-League) Aspirants’ Cup 2018 on Thursday at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig City.
“I told them that we needed to have a statement win,” said Tiu following his Scratchers’ stunner over the erstwhile-unbeaten Scorpions.
“The teams we beat, Perpetual and Gamboa, I think they are teams that we’re supposed to beat. But, if you want to go somewhere, you have to beat the real contenders—Zark’s, Marinero, CEU and Adamson. Adamson destroyed us. We beat CEU now. That’s why we’re very happy.”
But Tiu clarified that the statement is for them not the other teams.
“But it’s not that we want to have a statement game for the league. It’s more for us. We want to know that we can compete with the best. This just goes to show that if we play our game, we can actually do some good things in the league.”
Go For Gold-St. Benilde’s third win in five games did not come easy, particularly against CEU that has beaten fellow title contenders Zark’s Burger-Lyceum of the Philippines University and Marinerong Pilipino.
After erecting a huge 15-point lead early in the first half, the Scratchers found themselves trailing 51-61 in the third period en route to a toe-to-toe battle in the final frame.
Former CEU cager JK Casiño sank a right corner triple and a sneaky layup to send the game to extension period.
“I don’t think I needed to motivate him (Casiño) as much. This (CEU) was his former team. He really wanted to play and you can see how excited he was,” said Tiu of his recruit, who initially played for AMA Online Education.
Casiño though fouled out with 3:22 left in overtime. Go For Gold’s main gunner J-jay Alejandro jumped into the fray firing two triples before rookie Jimboy Pasturan iced the game with crucial rebounds and a free throw.
“I kept telling him (Alejandro) that he has to take over, he has to make plays for our team because he’s still our best scorer and I kept running plays for him to get open. A lot of times our guys missed him but when they got him the ball, he delivered and hit some big shots,” said Tiu.