ROD Ebondo of Cameroon had 20 points and 16 rebounds as Centro Escolar University survived a late fightback by University of the Philippines, 69-67, on Wednesday to stay undefeated in the Filoil Flying V Hanes Premier Cup at The Arena in San Juan.
Alfred Batino also had 19 points and 10 rebounds as the Scorpions scored their third win in as many outings to take the top spot in Group C.
UP had a chance to win after CEU failed to make a field goal in the last three minutes of the game after a 65-58 lead but the Maroons’ rally fell short as JR Gallarza’s triple at the buzzer rattled out.
Fatigue played a factor in the near-collapse, according to CEU coach Egay Macaraya, as his team played for the second straight day. CEU’s core is also playing in the PBA D-League, carrying the colors of Café France, which will also play a quarterfinal game on Thursday.
The Scorpions will then play for the fourth straight day on Friday against Holy Trinity College.
“We were just lucky,” said Macaraya. “They are very tired. They played yesterday and straight to this game. But still, their hearts want to win. It’s a sign of a good team.”
Gallarza had 20 points, while rookie Diego Dario added 12 for the Maroons, who fell to 1-2.
CEU (69) – Ebondo 20, Batino 19, Opiso 9, Casino 5, Abundo 5, Jeruta 5, De Leon 4, Mutombo 2, Vargas 0, Sedurifa 0, Banua 0, Amil 0.
UP (67) – Gallarza 20, Dario 12, Moralde 11, Asilum 9, Lao 7, Juruena 4, Gingerich 2, Harris 2, Romero 0, Bederi 0.
Quarterscores: 14-18; 31-34; 48-45; 69-67.