ROD Ebondo came up big in the dying seconds as CEU survived Batangas, 72-70, to claim its first victory in the PBA D-League Foundation Cup at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig on Thursday.
Ebondo scored on a putback off his own miss as the Scorpions regained the lead, 71-70, with 18.1 ticks to go.
The Congolese slotman then made the biggest stop of the match as he swatted away a floater by Joseph Sedurifa.
Jordan Intic split his free throws, giving a ray of hope for the Batangueños, but Chris Dela Peña's long pass to Cedric De Joya was too long.
Ebondo finished with 26 points, including 11 in the fourth period, and also had 22 rebounds and six assists for the Scorpions, who matched Batangas' 1-2 win-loss record.
"Wala na akong masabi sa kanya. All out talaga lagi," said CEU coach Yong Garcia on Ebondo.
But Garcia was quick to credit the rest of his players, who recovered after blowing a 59-50 lead early in the fourth.
"Sabi ko lang sa mga players just stay focused. Kailangan maniwala sila sa sistema at sa sarili nila. I'm so happy nagfocus sila atnakuha sa tyaga," he said.
Christian Uri added 10 points for CEU.
Cedric Ablaza scored 16, while Jessie Saitanan added 12 for Batangas.
CEU 72 - Ebondo 26, Uri 10, Wamar 9, Aquino 8, Intic 6, Casiño 4, Jeruta 3, Arim 2, Cruz 2, Manlangit 2, Guinitaran 0.
Batangas 70 - Ablaza 16, Saitanan 12, Sedurifa 9, Bautista 8, De Joya 8, Dela Peña 7, Isit 4, Laude 4, Ragasa 2, Anderson 0, Mag-isa 0, Mendoza 0.
Quarterscores: 23-13; 37-33; 56-50; 72-70.