CEU import Rod Ebondo capitalized on the early exit of Zarks-Lyceum counterpart as the Scorpions beat the Jawbreakers, 91-85, on Tuesday in the PBA D-League Aspirants' Cup at the Marikina Sports Center.
Cameroonian big man Mike Nzeusseu sprained his ankle in the opening period, leaving the Jawbreakers with no big man to man the paint.
Ebondo finished with 33 points and 20 rebounds as the Scorpions scored their third win in as many games.
Patrick Aquino added 18 markers for CEU, which ended the Jawbreakers a four-game winning run. Zarks now holds a 4-2 card.
Despite the rousing victory, CEU coach Yong Garcia felt there were still several lapses in the endgame that need to be addressed.
"We're so happy nanalo kami pero dami pa ring lapses. Nung nag-small lineup sila nagulo depensa namin. Thankful ako sa players kasi tinrabaho nila," he said.
Even without Nzeusseu, the Jawbreakers managed to stay within striking distance and even led 81-80 on Jaycee Marcelino's triple with four minutes and 18 seconds remaining.
In the dying moments, Zark's Burger had the chance to tie the match but Niño Ibañez second free throw rimmed out.
Jayvee Marcelino saved the ball from going out of bounds but it ended up in the hands of a streaking Orlan Wamar, who scored the breakaway layup and hit the bonus free throw, 89-85, with 29.5 left.
CJ Perez missed a three in the ensuing play, leading to an Ebondo throwdown that wrapped things up in an explosive fashion.
Perez had 17 points, but went cold when the team needed him most in the final stretch, missing a pair of three pointers and free throws.
Jaycee Marcelino scored 15.
CEU 91 — Ebondo 33, Aquino 18, Wamar 9, Arim 6, Cruz 6, Fuentes 6, Caballero 4, Guinitaran 3, Manlangit 2, Opiso 2, Veron 2, Saber 0.
Zark’s Burger Lyceum 85 — Perez 17, Jc. Marcelino 15, Jv. Marcelino 10, Serrano 10, Yong 9, Liwag 6, Caduyac 5, Ibañez 5, Tansingco 4, Nzeusseu 2, Santos 2, Baltazar 0, Pretta 0.
Quarterscores: 26-26; 50-44; 69-69; 91-85.