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Centro Escolar University lived up to its lofty billings as it walloped Technological Institute of the Philippines, 81-65, to grab the solo lead in the 1st Universities and Colleges Basketball League (UCBL) at the Olivarez Sports Center in Parañaque City.
Up against the team many considered as the biggest stumbling block to their title bid, Rod Ebondo came up with a monster performance to lead CEU to third straight win in as many outings.
The 6-foot-6 Congolese center posted 20 points and 20 rebounds as CEU handed TIP its first defeat also in three games.
In the second game, Colegio de San Lorenzo broke away in the second quarter through its vaunted running game to crush Bulacan State University, 94-88, for its first win in three starts.
Charles Callano scored 22 points, while Joseph Garbriel added 19 as the CDSL Griffins dealt BSU Gold Gears their second defeat also in three starts. BSU and CDSL are now tied for fifth to sixth places.
Like in their 88-60 win over the University of Batangas Brahmans, the Scorpions leaned on a mighty second quarter assault to break the game wide apart, posting a 46-32 halftime lead after taking only a three-point lead (20-17) at the end of the first quarter.
“I am happy with this game today because we were able to execute our game plan very well. Credit goes to the boys for their effort to win this game,” said CEU head coach Yong Garcia.
Garcia likewise praised Ebondo, who completely outplayed his counterpart from TIP in 6-foot-5 Ikee Akpuru, who could only manage 11 points and 8 rebounds, and 6-foot-10 Chris Okoronkwo, who he helped held to only 2 points and four rebounds. Both Akpuru and Okoronkwu are from Nigeria.
The Scorpions were simply hot that their lead ballooned to 22 points thrice, the last at 73-51 on Jason Opiso’s completed three-point play off Jorey Napoles.
Aside from Ebondo, also contributing for the Scorpions were Karlo Casino with 18, Jason Opiso with 11 and Ric Fuentes with 10.
Napoles was the only other double-digit scorer for TIP with 10.
CEU 81 – Ebondo 20, Casino 18, Opiso 11, Fuentes 10, Wamar 7, De Leon S. 4, Manlangit 3, Arim 3, Veron 2, Aquino 2, Umeanozie 1, De Leon K 0.
TIP 65 – Akpuru 11, Napoles 10, Rosopa 8, Jimenez 8, Santos B 7, Diego 6, Enriquez 6, Gadon 4, Alcober 3, Okoronkwo 2, Lara 0, Pinas 0
Quarters: 20-17, 46-32 58-45, 81-65.
CDSL 94 – Callano 22, Gabriel 19, Formento 15, Alvarado 13, Astrero 13, Vargas 6, Borja 6, Acheta 0, Ajero 0, Lagman 0.
BSU 88 – Fajardo 32, De Leon L 22, Jauco J. 16, Reye K. 11, De la Cruz 7, Mendoza A. 0, Necio 0, Mendoza J. 0.
Quarters: 23-13, 56-29, 75-56, 94-88