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Scorpions, Sea Lions clash in UCBL opener

By JEROME LAGUNZAD

Games Today
(Olivarez gym)
1 p.m. – BulSU vs U of Batangas
3 p.m. – CEU vs Olivarez

Defending champion Centro Escolar University opens its title-retention bid against host Olivarez College today in the Universities and Colleges Basketball League Season 2 at the Sea Lions’ home floor in Sucat, Parañaque City.

The rematch of last year’s finals is set at 3 o’clock, with the Scorpions determined to pick up from where they left off and the Sea Lions eager to earn some measure of revenge after getting swept in two games in the inaugural staging.

CEU, fresh from a morale-boosting runner-up finish in the PBA D-League Foundation Cup last month, is expected to pin its hopes mainly on Congolese center Rod Ebondo who will be backstopped by key holdovers Christian Uri, Orlan Wamar, Joseph Manlangit and Oliver Arim.

Although they will come in as the odds-on favorites, Scorpions coach Yong Garcia is reminding his wards not to take their rivals lightly since the Sea Lions have bolstered their front with the entry of 6-foot-8 Gabonese Didier Maganga and 6-foot-7 Cameroonian Yanie Elie.

“For sure, they want to get back at us that’s why it’s a must for my players to keep their guards up,” said Garcia, who is also looking to slow down Olivarez College’s local crew led by Dwight Saguitsit and Vinny Begaso.

Clashing in the opener set at 1 p.m. are Bulacan State University and University of Batangas, both raring to immediately set their respective title bids in motion.

Reigning league MVP Dominick Fajardo is tipped to lead the way for the Gold Gears, who will parade several Bulacan-born cagers and 6-foot-7 Nigerian David Adebola, against the Brahman who will be beefed up by 6-foot-5 Cameroon big man Raoul Yemeli.

Only the top four teams at the end of the single round of eliminations will advance to the next round, with the Top 2 squads earning twice-to-beat advantages against their semifinal rivals. The titular showdown is a best-of-three affair.

All games will be played every Monday, Thursday and Saturday and will be televised nationwide on a delayed basis at IBC Channel 13 from 8 p.m. to 12 midnight.

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