GO for Gold-CSB held off Centro Escolar University, 84-81, on Tuesday to force a do-or-die Game in their quarterfinal matchup in the 2019 PBA D-League at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig.
Gab Banal punctuated his triumphant return to the Scratchers by drilling the go-ahead trey with 17.5 seconds left, before Jimboy Pasturan forced a stop on Keanu Caballero on the other end.
"I'm happy that we're still alive," said coach Charles Tiu.
Still, he didn't conceal his disappointment after Go for Gold-CSB almost squandered a 20-point lead in the face a ferocious CEU rally.
"We probably deserve to lose the game. We were up big and seems like we never learn. The maturity is still isn't there," he rued.
Call it luck but the Scratchers managed to survive by sending the series to a deciding Game 2 on Thursday.
Banal collected 12 points, six assists, and five rebounds for Go for Gold in his comeback stint. Roosevelt Adams showed the way with 26points and 13 rebounds.
Newcomer Santi Santillan turned in 15 points and six rebounds while Justin Gutang finished with 13 points, eight boards, and five assists in the victory.
CEU, the Foundation Group second-seed,banked on Judel Fuentes, who finished with 22 points, including 10 in the fourth period to spark the Scorpions rally that fell short.
Senegalese center Maodo Malick Diouf registered a double-double with 14 points and 17 rebounds.
GO FOR GOLD-CSB 84 -- Adams 26, Santillan 15, Gutang 13, Banal 12, Leutcheu 8, Nayve 5, Pasturan 2, Dixon 2, Carlos 1, Naboa 0.
CEU 81 -- Fuentes 22, Diouf 14, Guinitaran 13, Uri 9, Rojas 6, Caballero 4, Formento 4, Sunga 2, Lisbo 2, Chan 2, Santos 2, Diaz 1, Intic 0.
Quarters: 26-21, 50-35, 73-61, 84-81.