June 23, 2018, 10:37 am
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Scorpions win, clinch playoff slot

CENTRO Escolar University clinched a playoff berth but had to go through the wringer against gritty Perpetual yesterday.

The Scorpions squandered a 16-point lead midway through the fourth quarter but held on when it mattered most, hacking out a 90-85 decision over the Altas for their fourth straight win and fortified their hold of the lead in the PBA D-League Aspirant’s Cup at the JCSGO Gym in Cubao.

Unheralded wingman Rich Guinitaran came off the bench and banged in 18 of his game-high 27 points in the second period, to go with two rebounds, while 6-foot-6 Congolese import Rod Ebondo notched a double-double of 22 and 12 for CEU, which improved to 7-1 while sending Perpetual reeling to its third straight loss and a 2-5 march.

In the other game, Gamboa Coffee Mix-St. Clare stunned Zark’s Burger-Lyceum 107-106 to snap a two-game slide.

Six-foot playmaker Trevis Jackson calmly sank what turned out to be the game-winning free throw with .9 left in the extra period after Zark’s Burger-Lyceum was whistled for a technical foul as Jaycee Marcelino called for a timeout that was no longer available.

Marcelino had the chance to redeem himself from that blunder in the Jawbreakers’ last play but his last-gasp jumper missed its mark at the buzzer.

Joseph Manlangit also came up big for the Scorpions, chipping in 16 points, nine of them coming into fourth canto.

Manlangit’s three-pointer at the 7:46 mark of the fourth gave CEU its biggest lead at 80-64 but the Altas charged back, only to lose steam.

Working behind Edgar Charcos and 6-foot-11 Nigerian Prince Eze, Perpetual went on a 21-3 binge caped by an Eze jumper that gave the Altas an 85-83 cushion with 1:52 to play.

But the Scorpions answered with a fiery 7-0 windup that enabled them to escape with the triumph.

Scorpions coach Efren Garcia lauded his charges for showing great resolve despite the big scare given by the Altas.

“Credit to my players dahil talagang kahit ang dami naming lapses ay nag-focused sila para makuha itong panalo na ito,” said Garcia.
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