Jason Perkins took matters tino his own hands as he led Cignal HD to a dominant 78-56 Game 1 victory over Centro Escolar University in the 2017 PBA D-League Foundation Cup Finals Tuesday at Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig.
The former La Salle forward set the tone for the Hawkeyes as they came hot off the gates and established a commanding 24-6 lead.
Perkins was smoking hot from the get-go, unfurling eight of his 16 points in the first quarter to go with 11 rebounds.
“Jason knows that he’s a very important part of this team. It shows that he’s always been stepping up for us,” said coach Boyet Fernandez. “The challenge of stepping up is there, and I commend all my players, especially Jason.”
Byron Villarias also shot 6-of-8 from the field to top his crew with 17 markers, on top of seven boards, while Mark Bringas registered a double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds.
Everything went Cignal’s way that even when the Scorpions cut the deficit to 12, 37-25, late in the second quarter, it was able to stifle the rally and cruise to a 1-0 lead in the best-of-three championship duel.
The blowout put the Hawkeyes a win away from completing a back-to-back title romp after winning the 2017 Aspirants’ Cup last conference, a feat which only NLEX and Phoenix have been able to accomplish.
Game 2 is on Thursday at 5 p.m., still at Ynares Sports Arena.
But Fernandez is keeping his players’ feet on the ground as he expects a tough fightback in the possible clincher.
“Again, it’s not yet over until it’s over. We know CEU is capable of coming back and I’m sure that they’ll find a way. So the challenge for us is to be ready for them on Thursday,” he said.
Congolese big man Rod Ebondo paced CEU with 27 points, 17 rebounds, and two blocks, but failed to get much support from his locals.
Rich Guinitaran also had 10 markers in the losing effort.
CIGNAL HD 78 – Villarias 17, Perkins 16, Bringas 13, Sumalinog 11, Batino 8, Uyloan 6, Sara 4, Raymundo 3, Apinan 0, Arboleda 0, Arong 0, Belencion 0, Cahilig 0.
CEU 56 – Ebondo 27, Guinitaran 10, Aquino 6, Manlangit 4, Jeruta 3, Arim 2, Saber 2, Uri 2, Casiño 0, Cruz 0, Fuentes 0, Intic 0, Wamar 0.
Quarters: 24-11, 39-25, 59-43, 78-56.