It may have been his first game back from a back injury, but Rod Ebondo had to do nearly everything for the CEU Scorpions in their 2018 Aspirants’ Cup quarterfinal bout with the Zark’s-Lyceum Jawbreakers, Tuesday.
Ebondo finished with 32 points on 50 percent shooting along with 25 rebounds, three steals, two assists, and a steal, but all his efforts went for naught as CEU blew their twice-to-beat edge to the Jawbreakers, 95-104.
“I just gave everything that I had,” said Ebondo, who has yet to reach maximum health.
“I know my team really needs me badly.”
The 23-year-old doesn’t have any issues providing that much for the Scorpions, as that is his role ever since. Ebondo, however, yearns for more support from his teammates especially on Thursday.
“In terms of individual stats… My stats will always be there — having a game where I can score 20 or 30,” the 6-foot-6 said. “But the most important thing is to get the win. So my 30 points mean nothing because we lost the game.
“[But] I really hope that on Thursday, we’ll give our 100 percent and I also hope that my teammates will be there to help me.“
Ebondo lamented the way the Scorpions shot the ball. CEU, known as one of the best shooting teams in the D-League, only converted 39 percent of their shots from the field and went just 15-of-32 from the charity stripe.
“Today, we missed a lot of free throws and our field goals were so poor. That’s what I think killed us today,” he opined.
The foreign student-athlete though tipped his hat to the Jawbreakers especially to reigning NCAA Most Valuable Player CJ Perez, who scored 11 straight in the final frame to help his team en route to the win.
Perez finished with 26 points, five rebounds, five rebounds, and three steals. And for Ebondo, they have to find ways on how to stop the Pangasinan-born guard-forward, who “can be a danger every time in the game.”
“They are a very good team. They are not just counting on one player. Everyone there can play and contribute,” Ebondo said. “In the fourth quarter, it was Cjay Perez who killed us. I think next game, we got to do a better job defending him.”
All of a sudden, the momentum has shifted on the Zark’s-Lyceum side, and the circumstances has now pushed the Mendiola-based Scorpions’ backs against the wall. Ebondo, however, remains defiant.
“I can’t really promise anything because Lyceum’s a good team,” he said.
“They can beat us. But, we can beat them too. It will all depend on the small details.”