Centro Escolar University used a strong finishing kick to down Racal Motors, 88-77, and advance to the 2017 PBA D-League Foundation Cup quarterfinals Tuesday at Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig.
With Racal closing in, 70-68 with seven minutes to play, the Scorpions staged a killer 18-4 blast powered by Rod Ebondo, JK Casiño, and Orlan Wamar to pull away and take the decisive 88-72 lead with 1:29 remaining to book their sixth win and clinch a spot in the playoffs.
“I’m very thankful for my players that they followed our gameplan. I just told them to take this is as their chance to experience the pressure of being in the playoffs,” said coach Yong Garcia.
CEU can still rise up to as high as the fourth-seed and enjoy a twice-to-beat incentive in the quarterfinals if Batangas loses to league leading Flying V, which is still being played as of press time.
The Congolese Ebondo poured 22 points and 19 rebounds, Wamar added 12 markers, five of which coming in the payoff period, while Casiño got 11 points and two boards.
Art Aquino also chimed in 12 markers and three rebounds to close the Scorpions’ elimination campaign with a 6-4 record.
Rian Ayonayon wrapped up the disappointing campaign for Racal (3-7) with 12 points and six rebounds, while Allan Mangahas got 10 markers and three assists in the loss.
CEU 88 – Ebondo 22, Aquino 12, Wamar 12, Casiño 11, Guinitaran 9, Jeruta 8, Uri 6, Cruz 4, Arim 2, Manlangit 2, Baconcon 0, Intic 0.
RACAL MOTORS 77 – Ayonayon 12, Mangahas 10, Apreku 9, Cabrera 9, Cortes 9, Ortuoste 8, Pontejos 6, Tallo 5, Capacio 4, Lozada 3, Faundo 2, Gomez 0, Grimaldo 0.
Quarters: 21-23, 41-44, 63-58, 88-77.