MANILA, Philippines – The 2018 PBA D-League Aspirants Cup moved back to the Ynares Sports Arena for a Thursday, February 22 double-header.
For the main attraction, the Go for Gold-CSB sent the CEU Scorpions to their first loss, 91-89, in an overtime thriller.
Go for Gold got into a hot start early into the game, as their sweet shooting put them up 10 after the first quarter, 27-17. However, CEU’s star center Rod Ebondo eventually got his legs under him and started to dominate in the post and on the boards. By halftime, CSB clung to 5-point lead with Ebondo already registering a 10-point, 10-rebound double-double.
It’s never a good thing to let Ebondo take over, something which CSB learned the hard way as he sank an and-one bucket to give the Scorpions a 46-43 lead, their first for the whole game. Then he kept rolling and sank a triple with a hand in his face to balloon the CEU lead to 7, 53-46. This was enough for them to hold on to a 63-58 lead after 3 quarters.
However, Go for Gold got the golden touch when it mattered most in the 4th quarter, as Justin Gutang sank and and-one layup, stole the ball and got fouled for two free-throws in consecutive possessions to cut their deficit down to one, 78-79. A few possessions later, JK Casino pulled up for three to tie the game at 82 with less than a minute remaining. After two CEU free-throws, Casino drove hard for the coast-to-coast finish to send the game to overtime, 84-all.
Four seconds into the extra period, Jayjay Alejandro sank a triple off the jumpball to give Go for Gold an 87-84 advantage. Being no stranger to clutch moments as the star of NU, he would pull up again for a go-ahead dagger, 90-87, to give the Scorpions their first stinging loss.
Gutang topscored for Go for Gold with 20 points to go with 4 rebounds and 5 asissts. JK Casino added 15 points with 3 triples while Alejandro scored 6 of his 9 points in OT. For the Scorpions, Ebondo tallied obscene numbers as usual with a game-high 34 points and 25 rebounds with 3 blocks and 2 threes to follow-up his 33-point, 20-rebound outing two days prior. Orlan Wamar led Ebondo’s supporting cast with 16 points and a game-high 7 assists.
In the other game, the University of Perpetual Help handled the bottom-dwelling Batangas EAC Generals, 82-75.
Go for Gold-CSB (91) – Gutang 20, Casino 15, Pasturan 14, Alejandro 9, Leutcheu 9, Gaco 9, Haruna 7, Salem 3, Domingo 3, Dixon 2, Ocampo 0.
CEU (89) – Ebondo 34, Wamar 16, Chan 12, Aquino 11, Manlangit 8, Cruz 4, Fuentes 2, Opiso 2, Uri 0, Caballero 0, Guinitaran 0, Arim 0, Saber 0, Veron 0.
Quarter Scores: 27-17, 43-38, 58-63, 84-84, (91-89 – OT)
STANDINGS (as of Feb. 22, 2018)
Marinerong Pilipino 4-2
Go For Gold-CSB 4-3
Gamboa-St. Clare 2-1
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