Tailender EAC completes 24-point rally, foils CEU’s outright semis bid in D-League

JR Isaga
Tailender EAC completes 24-point rally, foils CEU’s outright semis bid in D-League
Batangas-EAC capitalizes on the absence of Orlan Wamar and Rod Ebondo to frustrate the CEU Scorpions

MANILA, Philippines – In arguably the biggest upset of the PBA D-League season, the Batangas-EAC Generals snuck out an improbable 89-87 victory against the top-ranked Centro Escolar University (CEU) Scorpions at the Pasig City Sports Center, Monday, April 2.

Just 4 minutes into the first quarter, it looked like CEU was headed for disaster after sharpshooting point guard Orlan Wamar, Jr. was ejected after a heated argument with the referees. However, with the Scorpions already missing both Wamar and star center Rod Ebondo, they still produced a 36-18 opening period on the back of Judel Fuentes’ 14 points.

CEU extended their huge lead to 24, 44-20, after an 8-2 run, but floor General Cedrick De Joya led the 10-2 response to cut their deficit to 16, 46-30. With the help of other Generals like Philip Tampoc and JP Maguilano, EAC entered the half just down 9, 45-54.

The Generals carried their momentum into the second half, this time with Jerome Garcia’s triples leading the way. However, Fuentes and the Scorpions still managed to take care of their lead, entering the final canto at 74-68.

From then on, it was the De Joya show. After a hard drive that cut the CEU lead to one, 83-82, he was fouled on the next possession and sank the go-ahead charities for the 84-83 lead. Mark Cruz took the lead back for CEU with a layup that may have been offensive goaltending, but De Joya immediately made it a non-issue with a huge pull-up triple for EAC, 87-85.

With less than 30 seconds left, Cedrick Ablaza left the game open for the taking after blowing one of his two penalty shots. On the other end, the Scorpions’ Mark Cruz was left wide open in the corner, but unfortunately for CEU, his pull-up jumper was called a two since he stepped on the line. Like Ablaza, Garcia also missed one of two free-throws for EAC but De Joya intercepted the CEU inbound to seal the massive upset.

De Joya ended with a team-high 18 points (10 in the fourth) as 5 other Generals scored in double figures in the well-rounded effort. Fuentes meanwhile led all scorers with 26 in the tough loss.

Now at 8-3, the Scorpions finish third so far behind the 8-2 Akari-Adamson and Marinerong Pilipino, thus failing to clinch the outright semis berth. If Akari wins its last game against JRU and Marinero wins against Che’lu, they both finish at 9-2, thus sending CEU down to compete in the quarterfinals. However, if one or both of those teams lose their closing contests, the Scorpions immediately clinch a semis berth because they own the tiebreaker over both the Falcons and Skippers.


The Scores:

Batangas-EAC (89): De Joya 18, Tampoc 15, Dela Pena 13, Garcia 13, Ablaza 12, Maguilano 10, Mendoza, E. 5, Altamirano 3, Bugarin 0, Corilla 0, Martin 0, Estacio 0, Mendoza, J. 0

CEU (87): Fuentes 26, Manlangit 16, Cruz 15, Aquino 8, Arim 6, Veron 6, Saber 4, Galinato 3, Caballero 3, Wamar 0, Guinitaran 0, Opiso 0, Chan 0

Quarter scores: 18-36, 45-54, 68-74, 89-87


Standings (as of April 2, 2018)

^Akari-AdU 8-2 (remaining: vs JRU)

^Marinerong Pilipino 8-2 (remaining: vs Che’lu)

^CEU 8-3

^Che’Lu-SSC 7-3 (remaining: vs Marinero)

^Gamboa-St. Clare 6-4 (remaining: vs AMA)

^Zark’s-LPU 6-4 (remaining: vs UPH)

*Wangs-Letran 5-5

*Go For Gold-CSB 5-6

*Perpetual 3-7

*EAC 2-8

*JRU 2-8

*AMA 1-9


^ – clinched playoffs

* – eliminated from contention


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