The Centro Escolar University (CEU) Scorpions opened the fourth period by dropping a crippling 15-4 bomb that broke a close game with Lyceum of the Philippines University (LPU) wide open en route to a 64-49 victory in the Filoil Flying V Hanes Premier Cup at the San Juan Arena yesterday.
The Scorpions led, 43-37, after three periods but greeted the Pirates with five triples from five different players to take the fight out of LPU.
“That is CEU basketball,” modestly said CEU coach Edgar Macaraya who in his day as a gunner for the San Sebastian Stags was one of the game’s deadliest shooters. “It is a part of our offense. We take at least 150 shots a day where everyone even our centers have to take it. In our offense, when you’re open take the shot.”
CEU was 8-28 from three-point range but hit them when they counted the most – in the pay-off period where they outscored LPU 21-12.
No Scorpion finished in double digits as they spread the wealth around. Back-up point guard Aaron Jeruta topscored for his side by hitting for nine points. High-leaping Rodrigue Ebondo only had five points but he pulled down four boards typifying CEU’s toughness inside the lane. CEU outrebounded LPU, 49-44, and 7-2 in blocks.
The Scorpions, who are bracketed with San Beda, La Salle, UE, UST, and UP among others, finished third place in their maiden stint in the country’s preeminent pre-season college basketball tournament last summer. “Our goal is to improve every game. If we make the Final Four that would be good as well.”
The Jose Rizal University (JRU) Heavy Bombers, playing their fourth game in five days as they are also playing in another tournament, turned back tough University of San Jose Recoletos, 75-58, to go 3-0 in the Filoil Flying V Hanes Premier Cup.
The Jaguars gave a better account of themselves after absorbing an 89-66 beating at the hands of the Letran Knights. The Jaguars led 20-16 after the first period and 34-33 early in the third period before the Heavy Bombers' Jordan Dela Paz finally came alive with six points of his game high 21 markers to pace JRU.
USJ-R got better performances from forwards Miguel Gastador and Kevin Villafranca who scored 17 and 11 points respectively for the Cebuano side that fell to 0-2 in the tournament.
"We played better today," said Jaguars coach Jun Agripino. "We showed our pride. Hopefully, we will play even better and get our first win next time."
In other Filoil matches, the Perpetual Help Altas held Letran to a measly six points while scoring 16 of their own in a torrid third period that carried them to a 59-47 win.
Without Scotty Thompson who is playing with the Gilas Cadets in Seaba, the Altas found new strength in Nigerian center Bright Akhuetie who led the team with 24 points and 10 rebounds. Gerald Dizon and Crispin Elopre added 11 points apiece.
Mark Cruz was the lone bright spot for Letran with 15 points.
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