By Jerome Lagunzad
Games Today (Olivarez College gym)
12 noon – Lyceum-Batangas vs BulSU
2 p.m. – CEU vs Diliman College
Defending champion Centro Escolar University aims to complete a sweep of the first round today when it takes on dangerous Diliman College in the Universities and Colleges Basketball League (UCBL) Season 2 at the Olivarez College gym in Sucat, Parañaque City.
The Scorpions will come in on their 2 p.m. showdown with the Blue Dragons riding the crest of a six-game winning streak and still in their razor sharp form following a 68-57 thumping of struggling University of Batangas Brahmans two days ago.
CEU is also hoping top center Rodrigue Ebondo could be on his full strength as the 6-foot-7 Congolese will have his hands full against Diliman College counterpart Adama Diakhite who’s been a genuine force to be reckoned with.
Ebondo suffered a hyperextended left knee injury early in the third canto and was reduced as a mere spectator from CEU’s bench from then on as his teammates put on the finishing touches against UB.
However, the daunting task of slowing down the 6-foot-9 Diakhite, who’s capable of dishing out 20-20 performance, won’t just be on Ebondo since the Scorpions have enough bodies to gang up on him.
“We’ve been giving our backup big men enough exposure in our past few games because we’re already preparing them for situations like this,” said CEU coach Yong Garcia, referring to the likes of Louis Baconcon and Nigerian Ebuka Umeanozie.
“We know for a fact how much the Blue Dragons pin their hopes on Adama so it’s really a must for us to make it difficult for him as much as possible. We may not stop him but at least we have to control his output.”
Clashing in the opener at 12 noon are Lyceum-Batangas and Bulacan State University, a pair of reeling teams determined to turn their respective fortunes around.
The Gold Gears, losers of five in a row, are tipped as slight favorites over the Pirates behind the presence of reigning league MVP Dominck Fajardo and an underrated local support.