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June 05, 2019

Seven-man CEU crew aims to dispatch St. Clare

CENTRO Escolar University tries to continue its amazing run in the 2019 PBA D-League semifinals when it battles St. Clare College Virtual Reality on Thursday at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig.

Scorpions coach Derrick Pumaren claimed the grinding schedule is already taking a toll on undermanned crew,but remains motivated in the 4 p.m. game.

"Sana matapos na. It's been a torture for us," shared Pumaren, who is left with only seven players in the rotation after expelling seven players allegedly involved in game-fixing.

"We have to maintain the competitiveness in ourselves, the heart, and the fight every time when we step there. We just got to come out and play the game." He added.

But the good news for the Scorpions is that Maodo Malick Diouf, is back in full power with Ramadan already over.

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The Senegalese big man grabbed a PBA D-League record 33 rebounds on top of his 19 points while fasting in a 76-75 Game One win for CEU last Monday.

He'll be supported by Rich Guinitaran, Kurt Sunga, and Franz Diaz in their attempt to bring the Scorpions back to the championship for the first time since the 2017 Foundation Cup.

But the Saints are hell-bent to get back and even the series after blowing away a golden opportunity in the opener.

"Wala na kaming choice kundi manalo, kaya susubukan naming makuha yung laro sa Thursday," said coach Jinino Manansala as he leans on Junjie Hallare, Irven Palencia, and Joshua Fontanilla to send the best-of-three series to a decider.