PASIG CITY – Centro Escolar University further enhanced its chances of making the playoffs of the 2017 PBA D-League Foundation Cup by formally eliminating Gamboa Coffee Mix, 100-96, in action from the Ynares Sports Arena Monday (July 17). The Scorpions made up for a poor first half to collect their fifth win in eight games and rise to a share of fourth and fifth spot with idle Wang’s Basketball.
Art Patrick Aquino came off the bench to key CEU’s big comeback in the second half by scattering 14 points on perfect shooting from the field. His heroics completed their big turnaround from their biggest deficit at the end of the first period, 17-30, to their biggest lead of the game entering the final period, 83-66.
“We prepared for today knowing that (Rodrigue) Ebondo would not play so credit to our big men for stepping up,” said Coach Yong Garcia who opted to rest his Congolese center who had just recovered from a bout with pneumonia. It was a chance for the suddenly all-Filipino Scorpions to display their bench depth.
The veteran-laden Coffee Lovers though proved to be a tough nut to crack as they slowly climbed back to tie the game for the last time on a triple by playing coach Leo Avenido with 3:05 to play, 88-88. However, a triple from Rich Guinitaran and a basket from Mark Cruz gave CEU enough breathing room, 93-88, and hang on to the tough victory.
After scoring only 10 points in his first five games, Rich Guinitaran exploded for six triples en route to a team-best 24 points. Aquino finished with a total of 18 points in 16 minutes of action, a lone free throw his only miss of the day.
Coach Avenido fired nine triples for a total of 28 points to pace the Coffee Lovers who absorbed their seventh straight loss after taking their opener. Mike Parala followed with 17 points.
How They Scored:
CENTRO ESCOLAR (100) – Guinitaran 24, Aquino 18, Wamar 16, Casino 14, Cruz 10, Uri 8, Fuentes 6, Saber 2, Baconcon 2, Jeruta 0, Manlangit 0, Intic 0, Arim 0.
GAMBOA COFFEE MIX (96) – Avenido 28, Parala 17, Cawaling 13, Padilla 11, Acuna 11, Montuano 10, Vidal 3, Acibar 2, Knuttel 1, Dadjilul 0, Arellano 0.
Period Scores: 17-30, 45-47, 83-66, 100-96.