The Centro Escolar University Scorpions won their second victory as they destroyed the University of the Philippines Fighting Maroons with an offensive showcase, 89-74 held at the Filoil Arena in San Juan City.
The Scorpions came out sizzling from the perimeter as they established a double-digit deficit in the first quarter. Behind by two, after the first basket of the match by UP, CEU scored on a 20-5 rampage. The stretch included three early bombs from downtown that broke the game open in the opening frame. CEU’s Rodel De Leon scored 10 fast points including two triples in the first eight minutes that matched the entire offensive production of UP.
With less than five minutes to go in the first, returning Jett Manuel entered the game for UP. Manuel came off aggressive, attacking the rim but the returning Maroon had a hard time making his shots. On the other hand, Bernard Pagkatipunan drained in two more triples to end the quarter as the Scorpions built a 15-point cushion.
Again, UP scored the first basket of the second quarter courtesy of Diego Dario. However, the CESAFI-based squad unleashed a fast 7-0 run via a putback from JM Vargas off a missed bonus free throw of Carlo Casino to install their largest lead at 20, 32-12. Afterwards, JR Galanza made two shots from the charity stripe to start a mini 7-0 counter by the Maroons to trim the deficit down to 13.
After taking a breather from a hot first quarter start, De Leon halted a three-minute scoring drought for the Scorpions with two free throws and stopped UP’s run just before the first half ended. The two squads went on to tally 11 points apiece in the last 4 ½ minutes of the first half.
In the third, the Maroons sliced the lead down to 11 courtesy of an and-one play coming from Paul Desiderio. The Pink Scorpions quickly responded as they mounted a 16-5 scoring spree including wide open interior baskets from their bigs while still draining down their triples. The run featured a wide open lay-up and a two-handed flush by Rod Ebondo to pounce over the stunned UAAP team.
CEU burned UP’s zone defense with their stellar perimeter shooting as they used their jump shots to answer potential rallies put up by the Maroons. The next half of the third quarter slowed the game down due to a lot of free throws by both teams. While CEU erected its largest lead at 68-44 by Ebundo’s made attempts, Manuel came off the bench to spur UP with two pull up jumpers the helped them outscore CEU by six points in the dying minutes and trim the gap to 18 entering the fourth.
Amidst a seemingly decided game in the final period, the Maroons failed to capitalize with their defensive stops as the transition defense by the Scorpions held down UP. Kyles Lao and Desiderio poured on buckets, but their squad had a tough time barging into the 20-point barrier put up by the Scorpions. CEU’s Ebondo made his presence felt down low in the fourth both in the offensive and rebounding side in order to seal the game in favor of the Scorpions.
CEU finished the match shooting 50% from the two-point territory and was also plus 24 from downtown; they also had 10 more second chance points, 14-4, and outrebounded UP, 49-32.
The all-around team effort scoring-wise for the Scorpions was led by De Leon’s 16, which included two triples and four made free throws. Dario paced UP with 15 and was 9 out of 10 from the charity stripe.
CEU looks for its 3rd straight win against Mapua, 5pm on May 9 while UP looks to bounce back against La Salle on May 8.
CEU (89) – De Leon 16, Opiso 14, Ebondo 11, Abundo 9, Silverie 8, Batino 7, Pagkatipunan 6, Jeruta 5, Casino 4, Celso 4, Vargas 3, Arim 2, Aranas 0
UP (74) – Dario 15, lao 12, Desiderio 9, Manuel 9, Moralde 8, Vito 6, Knoe 5, Longa 3, Juruena 2, Gallarza 2, Amar 2, Jaboneta 1, Prado 0, Lim 0, Asilum 0, Tekoudjou 0
Quarters: 25-10, 45-31, 74-56, 89-74
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