MANILA, Philippines – Centro Escolar University (CEU) barged into the 2017 PBA D-League Foundation Cup quarterfinals after defeating Racal Motors, 88-77, on Tuesday at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig City.
Leaning on the trio of Rod Ebondo, JK Casiño, and Orlan Wamar, the Scorpions held off Racal’s late surge as they turned a slim 70-68 lead with seven minutes remaining into a commanding 88-72 advantage with just 89 seconds left to play.
Ebondo imposed his presence anew with a double-double of 22 points and 19 rebounds, while the diminutive Wamar scored five of his 12 points in the fourth quarter. Casiño contributed 11 points and two boards in the win.
Art Aquino provided support as he had 12 points and three rebounds for CEU, which ended the elimination round with a 6-4 win-loss slate.
Coach Yong Garcia was clearly elated with the way his players stepped up in the crucial stretch of the game.
“I’m very thankful for my players, that they followed our game plan,” said Garcia. “Sinabi ko lang na ito na ‘yung chance nila para ma-experience ‘yung pressure na makapasok sa playoffs.”
Rian Ayonayon led Racal (3-7) with 12 points and six rebounds, while Allan Mangahas had 10 points and three assists.
It was a dismal finish for Racal, which made the Finals in the Aspirants’ Cup. However, their campaign took a blow in the second conference because their key players left to attend to their obligations to their collegiate leagues.
CEU 88 – Ebondo 22, Aquino 12, Wamar 12, Casiño 11, Guinitaran 9, Jeruta 8, Uri 6, Cruz 4, Arim 2, Manlangit 2, Baconcon 0, Intic 0.
RACAL MOTORS 77 – Ayonayon 12, Mangahas 10, Apreku 9, Cabrera 9, Cortes 9, Ortuoste 8, Pontejos 6, Tallo 5, Capacio 4, Lozada 3, Faundo 2, Gomez 0, Grimaldo 0.
Quarter scores: 21-23, 41-44, 63-58, 88-77
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