Centro Escolar University (CEU) secured the last quarterfinal seat after beating Racal Motors, 88-77, in the 2017 Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) D-League Foundation Cup on Tuesday at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig City.
Banking on a strong second half performance, the Scorpions bucked a slow start and carved out a come-from-behind victory to advance to the next phase with a 6-4 win-loss card.
Congolese big man Rod Ebondo tallied a double-double performance of 22 points and 19 rebounds for CEU while Art Aquino and and Orlan Wamar Jr. finished with 12 markers each.
John Carlo Casino and Rich Guinitaran chipped in 11 and nine points for the Scorpions, respectively.
“I am very thankful to my players because they followed our game plan,” said CEU coach Yong Garcia.
Trailing 41-44 after the first two periods and 48-52 midway in the third canto, the Scorpions unleashed a 15-6 assault to enter the fourth frame with a 63-58 cushion.
CEU started to pull away and stretched its lead to 16 points, 88-72, 1:29 left in the payoff period to put the game in bed.
The Scorpions can gain a twice-to-beat advantage if Flying V beats Batangas (6-3), which was being played as of press time.
Rian Ayonayon finished with 12 points and six rebounds while Allan Mangahas contributed 10 markers and three assists Racal, which bowed out of the tournament with a 3-7 slate.
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.
Quarterscores: 21-23, 41-44, 63-58, 88-77