By Jerome Lagunzad
Games Tomorrow (Pasig City Sports Center)
2 p.m. — Mila’s Lechon vs Zark’s Burgers
4 p.m. — Marinerong Pilipino vs Wang’s
Center Rod Ebondo played a cut above everyone else yesterday as Centro Escolar University romped past Che’Lu Bar and Grill, 105-88, to sustain its flawless start in the 2018 PBA D-League Aspirants Cup at the Pasig City Sports Center.
The 6-foot-6 Ebondo unveiled a new facet on his vastly-improving offensive skills, hitting mid-range jumpers – and even a three-pointer – with ease on the way to a game-best 28-point performance anchored on 11-of-17 shooting from the field.
The Congolese national team standout also hauled down 23 rebounds, four of them on the offensive end, and blocked eight shots in yet another dominant performance to help the Scorpions pull away from the rugged Revellers.
“Rod played his A-game,” said CEU coach Yong Garcia of Ebondo, who proved to be the biggest difference as they racked up their second straight win in as many starts, keeping themselves as the lone unbeaten squad in the 13-team field.
Heady guard Orlan Wamar tallied 18 points, spiked by five triples, off the bench while backcourt buddy Judel Fuentes and forward Rich Guinitaran added 14 points each, giving the Scorpions a much-needed offensive punch.
However, it was Ebondo who dealt the Revellers one big blow after another, draining buckets from every conceivable angle while serving as the main anchor of the Scorpions’ nearly impenetrable fortress down low.
“If he wants to go to the next level, like the Euroleague, he needs to know how to play like a wingman,” said Garcia of Ebondo’s refined perimeter offense. “Talagang tinututukan namin ang skills niya. Ngayon nakita naman namin na mayroon talagang nangyayari sa ginagawa naming extra training sa kanya.”
Guard RK Ilagan scored 19 points, 11 of them coming in the second half, while three other teammates added at least 11 points each that all went for naught as Che’Lu Bar and Grill dropped to an even 2-2 mark in a tie with idle Marinerong Pilipino.
Up by just five at the end of the opening period, the Scorpions started to make their move behind their suffocating defensive pressure as they built a 14-point lead in the second quarter and took a 51-42 lead at the break.
The Revellers, however, showed some signs of life in the third mainly behind big man Jeepy Faundo who scored half of his 12-point output in their 11-6 counterattack that pulled them within 53-57.