PARANAQUE CITY – Centro Escolar University grabbed the solo leadership of the Fourth National Collegiate Basketball League (NCBL) via a sound crushing of Olivarez College, 70-44, in continuing action Tuesday (July 28) at the Dr. Pablo Olivarez Gymnasium. The visiting Scorpions improved to a spotless 3-0 win-loss card in handing the host Sea Lions their first loss after two straight wins to open the six-school tournament.
The Scorpions of Coach Edgar Macaraya applied the defensive clamps in the second period and for a moment it looked like the Sea Lions would be limited to a solitary field goal until they managed to end their almost five-minute scoring drought. The damage had already been done and the Sea Lions would never recover.
Adding to the Sea Lions woes was the stoppage of play after guard Harvey Sala fell hard on the floor and injured his shoulder. It took a while for medics to move Sala out of the court and the Sea Lions could not find answer to the Scorpions’ rampage.
Alvin Abundo came off the bench to replace an injured JK Casino and went on to pace CEU with 15 points. Rodrigue Ebondo had a double-double of 10 points and 10 rebounds as he matched up against former Scorpions John Paul Magbitang and Johnny Jasmin.
Pruvil Bermudes was the top scorer for the Sea Lions of Coach Mike Saguiguit with 15 markers. Jasmin was next with only seven as the rest of the team struggled for form.
Centro Escolar was pushed to the limit by debuting Philippine Christian University Dolphins for their second victory, 86-77, last Monday (July 27) at the TIP-Manila Gym. Jason Opiso was the top Scorpion with 19 points and nine rebounds.
Unlike in the past three seasons, CEU is fielding its first team in the NCBL, including members of the CaféFrance Bakers that annexed the recent 2015 PBA D-League Foundation Cup. The Scorpions have the distinction of winning the very first NCBL tournament in 2013.
In the first game, Manuel L. Quezon University barged into the win column after plastering Eulogio “Amang” Rodriguez Institute of Science and Technology, 88-80. It was also the first win in a major competition for Coach Jino Manansala since he took over the program this year.
The Stallions again relied on the big plays of Dennis Santos and Christopher Bitoon to frustrate the Red Fox. Bitoon sank five triples en route to a team high 28 points while Santos added 24 points and nine rebounds as the Stallions improved to 1-1.
Paolo Quiminales paced EARIST with 25 points followed by Nigerian exchange student Ebuka Umeanozie with 10 points and 16 rebounds. The Red Fox of Coach Ringo Jimenez are still in search of their first win after three starts.
How They Scored:
MANUEL L. QUEZON (88) – Bitoon 28, Santos 24, Villegas 9, Lao 9, Aurelio 7, Ambulodto 6, Ignacio 3, Balidoy 2, Maglangcom 0, Caliguiran 0.
EARIST (80) – Quiminales 25, Umeanozie 10, Natividad 9, Cruz 8, Macuha 7, Perez 6, Laus 2, Bandalan 2, Pancho 1, Orticio 0, Martinez 0, Jimenez 0, Vinluan 0.
Period Scores: 13-19, 36-36, 61-60, 88-80.
CENTRO ESCOLAR (70) – Abundo 15, Ebondo 10, Opiso 9, S. de Leon 6, Arim 5, Celso 5, Telen 5, Anunciacion 4, Manlangit 3, Casino 2, Batino 2, K. de Leon 2, Jeruta 2, Vargas 0, Gallemit 0.
OLIVAREZ (44) – Bermudes 15, Jasmin 7, Singh 4, Labis 4, Bustos 3, Tomilloso 3, Saguiguit 2, Begaso 2, Solis 2 Magbitang 2, Madera 0, Sala 0, Navarro 0, Corneh 0.
Period Scores: 12-10, 31-17, 51-32, 70-44.