PBA DL: Generals ambush Scorpions

By Jerome Lagunzad

Games Thursday
(Ynares Sports Arena)
1 p.m. – AMA vs Che’Lu Bar and Grill
3 p.m. – CEU vs Go for Gold

Forward Clark Derige thrived on his new role as the top offensive weapon yesterday as Batangas pulled the rug from under Centro Escolar University, 96-90, for its breakthrough victory in the 2018 PBA D-League Foundation Cup at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig City.

The 6-foot-3 Derige came off the bench and produced 28 points on a near flawless 10-of-12 shooting from the field, doing most of the damage from mid-range while helping the Generals complete the most stunning victory over one of the perennial title contenders so far in the week-old conference.

Guards Cedric De Joya and Christian Manalo combined for 38 points while Cyrus Tabi and Chris Dela Peña made a pair of key plays in the final minute as Batangas bounced back from an 88-75 loss to pacesetting Go for Gold in the best way possible.

“We played as team and that’s our strength,” said Generals coach Oliver Bunyi. “The most important thing today was the players’ collective resiliency. They didn’t give up even when we’re under pressure.

Pierce Chan scored 17 points while Cameroonian Gilles Oloume finished with 12 points, 15 rebounds and five blocks but the Scorpions failed to sustain a strong start and uncharacteristically played sluggish in the final period, causing them to absorb their first loss under interim mentor Derrick Pumaren.

Earlier, big man Jay Collado and guard Chris Bitoon delivered the goods down the stretch as Che’Lu Bar and Grill sent Marinerong Pilipino crashing back to earth with an impressive 88-71 victory.

Collado tallied half of his game-high 20-point output while Bitoon scored all but two of his 11 points in the final period as they formed an unlikely scoring duo in the Revellers’ decisive 15-3 run that enabled them to pull away from the Skippers.

Wide-bodied center Jay-R Taganas had a double-double of 12 points and 10 rebounds while veteran playmaker Jeff Viernes overcame a game-long struggle with 14 points, five rebounds and four assists to help Che’Lu Bar and Grill bounce back from a 94-78 loss to CEU in the opener last week.

“They played much better compared to our last game,” said Revellers coach Stevenson Tiu. “We talked after our first loss and I asked them for their commitment, especially the veterans. I challenged them that you have to take the lead and they responded very well.”