Centro Escolar University (CEU) rode a strong start en route to a 76-57 rout of an undermanned Akari-Adamson University to reclaim the solo lead in the Philippine Basketball Association Developmental League (PBA D-League) Aspirants’ Cup 2018 on Tuesday at the JCSGO Gym in Quezon City.
The Scorpions erected a massive 15-point lead in the first quarter were never threatened in the 40-minute contest. CEU reclaimed the lead in the 12-team tilt with a 4-1 win-loss record.
“It’s all about our preparation. We worked hard on what we practiced that’s why we got this result,” said CEU head coach Yong Garcia, whose squad also bounced back from a an 89-91 overtime loss to Go For Gold-College of St. Benilde.
Garcia’s wards took full advantage of the absence of Adamson frontliners Papi Sarr and Tyrus Hill to thrash Franz Pumaren’s men in the paint, 52-32. Sarr was not able to play after the Cameroonian center lost his uniform.
“It (absence of Sarr and Hill) was a big help for us. We were able to dominate the shaded lane,” said Garcia.
Rod Ebondo finished with a double-double anew as the Congolese big man tallied 25 points and 18 rebounds for the Scorpions.
JJ Manlangit contributed 13 points while Mark Neil Cruz and Orlan Wamar added nine and eight markers, respectively.
CJ Catapusan chalked 13 points and Sean Manganti notched 12 markers for the Soaring Falcons, who slid to No. 2 with a 4-2 card.
Akari-Adamson, which converted only 29 percent of its 69 shots, also saw its three-game winning streak come to an end.
The Scorpions raced to a searing 19-4 start fueled by Ebondo and Cruz.
Akari was able to close the gap, 32-40, at the break, but CEU restored a huge 60-42 spread anchored on an 18-7 run capped by Wamar’s basket late in the third frame.
The Mendiola-based cagers stretched the lead to an insurmountable 74-51 on Oliver Arim’s nifty floater midway the payoff period.