The Centro Escolar University Scorpions refused to go home, and dealt the Flying V Thunder its first loss of the tourney and force a win-or-go-home Game 3, 93-72, Tuesday evening at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig City.
With their defense in sync, the Scorpions silenced the Thunder in the last 5:15 of the first quarter to turn a 14-12 deficit to a commanding 31-14 lead after the opening frame, before further stepping on the gas pedal and taking a 23-point lead, 58-35, at the half.
Rod Ebondo towered over the competition as he unloaded 18 points, 26 rebounds, three assists, and two blocks to make true of his words on forcing the decider.
Art Aquino went on a perfect 7-for-7 from the field to drop 18 markers and seven boards, while Christian Uri got 15 points and four rebounds in the win.
“Yung gameplan namin is di masyado magfocus yung depensa on (Jeron) Teng, but rather, sa team defense namin,” said coach Yong Garcia. “Nasunod lang yung gameplan namin on defense at yun na ang nagpadali sa offense namin. Sinuwerte na rin kami.”
CEU went bonkers from downtown, as they shot 10-of-22 from downtown, while their defense held Flying V to a woeful 31-percent clip.
The Scorpions and the Thunder tangle once more on Thursday for the winner-take-all Game 3 for the last seat in the Finals.
“Yung pressure nasa kanila,” said Garcia. “Kami, di naman namin ineexpect na makapasok kami dito, pero nandito na tayo. Wala namang masama kung subukan natin.”
Jeron Teng struggled in the outing after spraining his left ankle in the second quarter. He posted 13 points on a 5-of-13 shooting from the field, alongside three rebounds and two assists before fouling out at the 7:21 mark of the fourth quarter.
Gab Banal, Aris Dionisio, and Eric Salamat all tallied 11 markers in the defeat.
Game 3 will be on Thursday, August 17, at 4:00pm.
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.
Quarterscores: 31-14, 58-35, 79-61, 93-72.
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