(Olivarez Sports Center,
12 noon – Olivarez vs TIP
2 p.m. – CDSL vs Diliman
Centro Escolar University withstood Olivarez College’s spirited challenge and coasted to a 76-61 victory to complete a six-game sweep of the first round elims in the Universities and Colleges Basketball League (UCBL) yesterday at the Olivarez Sports Center in Parañaque City.
For the first time in six games, CEU experienced trailing an opponent at the end of the first half as the Sea Lions outscored them in the second quarter, 25-8.
But with 6-foot-6 Rod Ebondo terrorizing the shaded lane, and the rest scoring from afar from time to time, the Scorpions erased a 35-31 deficit and took a 53-49 advantage going into the final half.
It was an all-CEU show from there as Karlo Casino, Samboy de Leon and Ric Fuentes joined the fray, and in no time, the Scorpions’ lead was put beyond the Sea Lions’ reach halfway through the payoff period.
CEU’s sixth win was perhaps its hardest which coach Yong Garcia blamed to his boys’ complacency.
“We were flat again in the second quarter. My players have this tendency to relax for a while. I asked them to give their bests in the second half. That was my challenge to them and good thing, they responded,” said Garcia.
Garcia credited the team’s second half surge to Ebondo who transformed into a scoring machine.
He scored 17 of his 25 points – his biggest output so far – in the last two quarters aside from grabbing 15 boards in another solid all-around performance.
“I hope we can continue playing well in the second round. I would not say another sweep, I will just think about it one game at a time,” added Garcia.
The Sea Lions slipped to 3-2 in a tie with idle Technological Institute of the Philippines.
Casino, who starred in the team’s 107-75 rout of the Bulacan State University last Thursday, added 11 while De Leon added 9 points.
Albert Rabe sparked Olivarez’s big second quarter show that saw them detonate 19 straight points that left CEU coach shaking his head in utter disgust.
Vin Belaso paced the Sea Lions with 14 points, Harold Sala with 13 and nine from Mavrick Saguiguit.
CEU 76 – Ebondo 25, Casino 11, De Leon S. 9, Fuentes 9, Manlangit 8, Wamar 6, Opiso 4, De Leon K. 2, Aquino 1, Arim 1, Veron 0.
OLIVAREZ 61 – Belaso 14, Sala 13, Saguiguit 9, Rabe 7, Singh 6, Geronimo 5, Sunga 4, Uduba 2, Bermudez 1, Solis 0, Almejada 0.
Quarters: 23-10; 31-35; 53-49; 76-61.