PBA D-League: St. Clare, CEU dispute last finals ticket

CEU and St. Clare battle one last time, with a spot in the 2019 PBA D-League Finals at stake. Richard Esguerra, ABS-CBN Sports

MANILA, Philippines – Rivals St. Clare College Virtual Reality and Centro Escolar University (CEU) battle for the last ticket to the 2019 PBA D-League finals, when their best-of-3 semis series reaches its conclusion on Tuesday at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig City.

For the Saints, it is their chance to make history as the unheralded school tries to prove that they belong among the elite basketball programs in the country.

“Pangarap talaga namin makaabot doon sa finals kasi ‘di pa namin nararating ‘yun,” admitted coach Jinino Manansala, with St. Clare making the most of its maiden semifinals foray.

The Saints forced this Game 3 with a dominant 84-50 mauling of the Scorpions last Thursday, with Malian center Mohammad Pare leading the way.

Also expected to rise are guards Junjie Hallare, Joshua Fontanilla, and Irven Palencia, with St. Clare intent of showing the door to CEU.

Tip-off is at 4 p.m., with the winner facing Cignal-Ateneo in the best-of-five championship showdown.

The Scorpions remain formidable even as they continue to compete with just eight players in their line-up.

“Like I said before, win or lose, I’ll take it. I’m just proud with how our boys are fighting despite our situation,” said coach Derrick Pumaren.

Senegalese big man Maodo Malick Diouf will be the rock for CEU, as he will be joined by Rich Guinitaran and Franz Diaz in assuming the leadership role for the squad.

For more sports coverage, visit the ABS-CBN Sports website.

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