CENTRO Escolar University is one win away from the Universities and Colleges Basketball League title, ripping Olivarez College Sea Lions, 66-41, in Game One of the best-of-three championship on Monday at the Olivarez Sports Center in Paranaque City.
The top-seeded Scorpions, led by 6-foot-5 Rod Ebondo, proved too big and strong for the Sea Lions.
Ebondo led the team’s third quarter rampage that saw the Scorpions take a 49-31 lead going into the final 10 minutes of play.
Ebondo came up with a huge double-double, scoring 14 and hauling down 17 of the team’s 53 rebounds.
The Sea Lions, one of the smallest in the seven-team league, still grabbed 40 boards.
Sea Lions did well in the first two quarters, shooting quite well and defending ferociously and were only behind by six points, 28-22, at halftime.
But when Ebondo and company asserted their might inside, the Sea Lions found themselves helpless.
Jason Opiso and Orlan Wamar also shone offensively, helping Ebondo push CEU beyond Olivarez’s reach with their impressive shooting.
Wamar and Opiso fired three triples apiece and the Scorpions hit a total of 11 from beyond the arc, while Olivarez made only four.
“We stared flat. That’s why the game was close in the first half. But we managed to make several adjustments in the second half,” said CEU coach Yong Garcia. “During halftime break, I told my players to follow our game plan and they did. That’s the time we started pulling away,” said CEU coach Yong Garcia.
The Scorpions also got back at the Sea Lions, who stung them at the end of the double-round elims, 65-63.
“I don’t want to say anything about Olivarez coming back strong in the second game. What we are going to do now is to make more adjustments in our defense. We will be more focus in our next game,” added Garcia.
CEU 66 – Ebondo 14, Wamar 11, Opiso 11, Aquino 8, Guinataran 6, Arim 5, Manlangit 5, Casino 4, De Leon K. 1, Ehsan Veron 1, Umeanozei 0, Saber 0.
Olivarez 41 – Solis 15, Navarro 5, Belaso 4, Uduba 4, Saguiguit 3, Rabe 3, Bermudez 3, Singh 2, Geronimo 2, Sunga 0, Sala 0.
Quarterscores: 13-9; 28-22; 49-31; 66-41.