Rod Ebondo drilled the go-ahead putback and secured the game-saving block in the waning seconds as he towed Centro Escolar University to a thrilling 72-70 victory over Batangas for a breakthrough win in the 2017 PBA D-League Foundation Cup Thursday at Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig.
The Congolese big man atoned for his forced drive and scored on the second try to give his side a slim 71-70 lead with 18.1 seconds left before towering over Joseph Sedurifa and swatting his potential game-winning floater as the Scorpions notched their first win in three tries.
“I can’t say anything about Rodrigue. He was all-out for us,” said coach Yong Garcia, who chalked up his first victory in the developmental ranks.
Ebondo was stellar in the duel as he pulled CEU to the shore with his 26 points, 22 rebounds, and six blocks.
Christian Uri added 10 markers, Orlan Wamar contributed nine points and five boards, and Art Aquino tallied eight markers and five rebounds for the Scorpions.
CEU lost hold of its eight-point lead, 58-50, early in the payoff period, as Cedrick Ablaza and Jessie Saitanan helped the Batangueños to even grab a 70-68 lead with 1:11 to play.
But that was their last hurrah, as Ebondo imposed his will for the Scorpions down the stretch.
Ablaza led Batangas with 16 points, six rebounds, and three assists, while Saitanan got 12 markers and two boards.
Unfortunately, those efforts weren’t enough as the Batangueños suffered their first loss in three games.
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.
Quarters: 23-13, 37-33, 56-50, 72-70.