CEU in breakthrough win » Manila Bulletin Sports

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Rod Ebondo imposed his will inside and Centro Escolar University nailed its first win with a thrilling 72-70 decision over Batangas yesterday in the PBA D-League Foundation Cup at Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig.

The Congolese center dominated in the paint and saved his biggest plays in the final minute, scoring the go-ahead putback with 18.1 seconds to play to push the Scorpions up, 71-70, before blocking Joseph Sedurifa in the waning seconds to give coach Yong Garcia his first win in the league.

“Wala na kong masabi kay Rodrigue. Talagang all-out siya para sa amin,” said Garcia.

Ebondo finished in double-double of 26 points and 22 rebounds, to go with his six blocks as CEU snapped a two-game losing run.

Christian Uri chipped in 10 markers, Orlan Wamar registered nine points and five boards, and Art Aquino added eight points and five rebounds to give Ebondo the much-needed help.

The Scorpions appeared headed to another disappointing finish after losing hold of a 58-50 edge early in the payoff period.

Cedrick Ablaza and Jessie Saitanan led the late rally, which even gave Batangas a 70-68 advantage with 1:11 to play, but CEU clamped down on defense behind Ebondo as it denied the Batangueños any crack at the basket.

Meantime, Cignal HD clobbered Gamboa Coffee Mix and zapped its way to the history books with a 118-51 mauling of Gamboa Coffee Mix in the first game.

Anchored by the strong starts from Pamboy Raymundo and Jason Perkins, the Hawkeyes duo teamed up for 13 of the squad’s 27 first quarter points before the rest of the team followed suit, jumping to a 50-24 halftime edge.

Not helping the Coffee Lovers was the ankle injury on Mark Sarangay early on, which left a gaping hole in the middle for Gamboa. That allowed Cignal to bully its way inside as Mark Bringas fired the finishing blow with a lay-up in the final 13.9 ticks to seal the new PBA D-League record for the biggest winning margin at 67 points.

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