CEU advances to FilOil semis by dispatching LPU

Naveen Ganglani
CEU advances to FilOil semis by dispatching LPU
The Centro Escolar University Scorpions held on to defeat the Lyceum of the Philippines Pirates to earn a semis spot against the winner of the National University-San Beda College match

MANILA, Philippines – Thanks to a balanced offensive gameplan and some steady defense late in the fourth quarter, the Centro Escolar University Scorpions held on to defeat the Lyceum of the Philippines Pirates, 64-51, on Monday, June 2, at the San Juan Arena.

CEU, which improved its FilOil Flying V Hanes Premier Cup campaign record to 7-0, advances to the semifinal round where they will face the winner of this Wednesday’s encounter between National University and San Beda College.

“Well, praise God first,” said CEU head coach Edgar Macaraya after the game. “It’s a really great win for us. And the boys fought hard. They don’t give up even in times of rallies and everything.”

Three Centro Escolar University players scored in double-figures, led by Rodel De Leon, who had 14 points and six rebounds. Mon Abundo and Rodrigue Ebondo contributed as well, submitting 12 and 11 markers, respectively.

CEU shot just 38% overall, but its defense limited LPU to just 21% from the field.

The Scorpions were relentless in the opening quarter of this game, proving that their unblemished record in the elimination round was no fluke. By the end of 12 minutes of action, the Scorpions were already on top by nine, 22-12, thanks to the team’s balanced production on offense.

“My team doesn’t have any stars. Everyone contributes in little ways,” added Coach Macaraya following the victory.

The script in the second quarter was likewise to that in the first, as CEU continued to stay in control despite giving Lyceum 12 second chance points in the first half. The Scorpions, though, took advantage of the Pirates’ miscues by putting up six points on the scoreboard off LPU’s turnovers.

Entering the half, the would-be winners led by eight, 37-29.

The losing side was spearheaded by Azez Mbomiko, who had 12 points and six rebounds. Dexter Zamora was the second best performer for the team, pitching in 11 and five.

After De Leon hit a triple to finish the third period, things seemed bleak for the Pirates as they faced a 12-point deficit, 50-38. However, Lyceum didn’t go down without a fight and managed to get within nine, 53-44, with 5:17 to go in the game.

A few moments later, two free throws from Zamora cut Centro Escolar’s lead to seven with 3:02 left in the fourth. But any possibility of a Pirates come back was cut short by De Leon, who converted on a beautiful bank shot, and Zamora, whose double dribble violation led to another CEU possession and score.

In the post-game media session, Coach Macaraya didn’t give a preference on which opponent he’d rather face in the semis.

“FilOil has all the best teams. I guess everybody is even. The only thing is how they play the game and who wants more to win. Matchup wise, everyone is medyo parehas,” he stated.

He continued: “We’re all competitive teams,” before adding that “the best team wins.”


CEU: De Leon 14, Abundo 12, Ebondo 11, Sedurifa 9, Batino 8, Jeruta 4, Casino 3, Opiso 1, Banua 0, Mutonbo 0, Anunciacion 0

LPU: Mbomiko 12, Zamora 11, Mbida 9, Ko 6, Maconocido 4, Azores 3, Bulawan 3, Taladua 2, Lesmoras 1, Baltazar 0, Soliman 0, Pamulaklakin 0, Lacastesantos 0

Quarter Scores: 22-12, 37-29, 50-38, 64-51

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