Refusing to go home, Centro Escolar University came out like a house on fire and burned Flying V’s dream of a perfect conference down in flames, trouncing the top seed in a 93-72 blowout Tuesday at Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig in their 2017 PBA D-League Foundation Cup semifinals series.
The Scorpions held the Thunder scoreless in the final 5:15 of the first quarter to turn a 14-12 deficit to a commanding 31-14 advantage.
That choking defense continued in the second quarter, where CEU locked Flying V down to grab a lead as high as 23, 58-35 at halftime.
Making true of his vow to force the equalizer, Rod Ebondo scattered 18 points, 26 rebounds, three assists, and two blocks to carry the mantle for the Scorpions.
Art Aquino was also flawless from the field as he made all of his seven shots to pour 18 markers and seven boards, while Christian Uri had 15 points and four rebounds in the victory.
“We didn’t focus much of our defense on Teng, but rather, our team defense. We followed our gameplan on defense and that made things easy on us on offense,” said coach Yong Garcia.
CEU shot 10-of-22 from threes while also limiting Flying V to just 31-percent shooting from the field.
The win kept the fourth-ranked Scorpions alive and forced a winner-take-all Game 3 slated on Thursday for the right to face Cignal HD in the Finals.
“The pressure is on them,” said Garcia. “We didn’t really expect to make it here, but since we’re here, it’s not bad that we try to go for it.”
It was a forgettable outing for leading MVP contender Jeron Teng, who played through a sprained left ankle in the first half before fouling out at the 7:21 mark of the fourth quarter.
He finished with 13 points, on a 5-of-13 shooting from the field, on top of three rebounds, and two assists in the defeat to lead the Thunder.
Gab Banal, Aris Dionisio, and Eric Salamat all churned out 11 markers in the defeat.
CEU 93 – Ebondo 18, Aquino 18, Uri 15, Casiño 13, Jeruta 10, Manlangit 8, Wamar 7, Cruz 4, Arim 0, Baconcon 0.
FLYING V 72 – Teng 13, Banal 11, Dionisio 11, Salamat 11, Torres 10, Cañada 8, Paredes 4, Tampus 3, Thiele 1, Austria 0, Koga 0.
Quarters: 31-14, 58-35, 79-61, 93-72.