Ebondo vows to play through pain as 30-20 game in return from back injury not enough to lift CEU
Rod Ebondo admitted playing through pain in his first game back from a back injury, but it didn't show in his numbers as he had a huge double-double for CEU. Dante Peralta

ROD Ebondo shrugged off his monster effort in his return from injury that ended up wasted in a Centro Escolar University loss to Zark’s Lyceum in the PBA D-League Aspirants Cup quarterfinals on Tuesday.

In his first game back from a back injury, Ebondo was dominant with 32 points and 25 rebounds but admitted feeling empty, to say the least, after failing to lead CEU to victory.

“Our opponents are a very good team. In terms of individual stats, my stats will always be there, having a game where I can score 20 or 30. But the most important thing is to get the win. So my 30 points mean nothing because we lost the game,” said Ebondo.

The third-seed Scorpions bowed to Zark’s-LPU, 104-95, with the Jawbreakers extending the quarterfinal series to a deciding match on Thursday, 3 p.m. at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig City.

Despite the loss, CEU coach Yong Garcia lauded the determination of the team’s Congolese import to play, baring that he is still not in top physical shape after sustaining a back injury.

“He is a warrior. Talagang advice ng doktor, hindi pa siya 100 percent but binigay niya ‘yung best effort niya. Two thumbs ako sa kanya,” said Garcia.

Ebondo admitted there is still pain on his back but said his injury has healed which is why he decided to play for CEU in the quarterfinals.

“The pain is still there but the injury is not there anymore. It’s just like the pain when you recover from an injury. The bones are okay already, the muscles are okay but there’s just some pain that I have to manage,” said Ebondo.

With a semifinal seat on the line, Ebondo said he will continue to play even if he continues to feel pain on his back.

“I really hope that on Thursday, we will give our 100 percent and also my teammates will be there to help me,” he said.

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