Diliman College got back at Centro Escolar University, 87-86, to secure the top seeding in the semis of the Universities and Colleges Basketball League (UCBL) Season 3 yesterday at the Olivarez College in Parañaque City.
In avenging their 88-61 in the first round, the Diliman Blue Dragons made their moves in the middle quarters before quashing CEU’s determined comeback to extend their winning run to 9 games and finished the double round elims at No. 1 with an 11-1 record.
CEU’s defeat that ended its 10-game winning streak was only its second since its 86-83 loss to Olivarez College in the opener.
For finishing 1-2, Diliman and CEU enjoy twice-to-beat privileges and need only to beat their semis rivals once to arrange a title clash which is a best-of-three affair.
Handled by Rensy Bajar, the Blue Dragons battle the No. 4 TIP Engineers while CEU takes on No. 3 Olivarez in the semis.
The Derrick Pumaren-mentored Scorpions took the early initiative, taking a 20-13 lead in the first quarter before the Blue Dragons outscored in the second (30-22) and third quarters (32-23) to take a 75-65 lead going into the payoff period.
The Scorpions, however, gave it another try, threatening to snatch the win – through the efforts of Rich Guinitaran, Pierce Chan and the 6-foot-11 Senegalese Maodo Malick Diouf.
But time was not on their side as the Blue Dragons held their ground and put themselves in a position to win another title.
The Blue Dragons, led by Robbi Darang’s 19 points, are coming off a title win in their division in the recent Fr. Martin Cup.
Four other Diliman players scored in double figures that underscored the team’s firepower with Joseph Brutas adding 12 points, while Kevin Gandjeto and Johnnel Bauzon chipping in 11 points each.
While the Scorpions had better shooting percentage, the Blue Dragons produced more threes with 12 against only seven for the Scorpions.