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The Centro Escolar University Scorpions pulled off a huge 84-77 upset over the Marinerong Pilipino in the 2022 PBA D-League Aspirants' Cup on Monday at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig.
Jerome Santos waxed hot in the second half, dropping 18 of his 25 points as the Scorpions clinched their second straight win and more importantly, earned a spot in the playoffs. Santos also collected nine rebounds and two steals.
It was an all-out effort indeed for CEU with Lenard Santiago contributing 13 points, five boards, and two steals, Ronrei Tolentino flirting with a double-double with eight points and 11 rebounds, and Nigerian center Victor Balogun chiming in eight points, eight boards, and two rejections.
The Scorpions showed poise after squandering a 66-50 lead entering the payoff period as the Skippers rallied and cut the lead down to one, 72-71, with 4:49 remaining. Santiago and Balogun then worked together in a telling 10-0 response to retake an 82-71 lead in the final three minutes before CEU's defense did the trick to escape with the victory.
Adrian Nocum fired 18 points, seven rebounds, and two assists for Marinerong Pilipino (4-3) which played without an under-the-weather Juan Gomez de Liano.