AFTER a scary win the last time, Centro Escolar University returned to its murderous form, clobbering newcomer Guang Ming College,116-48, to clinch the first semis berth in the 5th PG Flex Linoleum-Universities and Colleges Basketball League (UCBL) at the Paco Arena in Manila.
It took the CEU Scorpions just two quarters to practically settle the issue as they buried the GMC squad under an avalanche of baskets to take a sizable 29-14 lead which they raised to 63-32 at the break on the way to their 9th win in as many outings.
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CEU’s 68-point winning margin is by far the largest in the league, eclipsing the 64-point drubbing Philippine Christian University-Dasmariñas dealt to Lyceum-Batangas last Dec. 8.
In other games two-time defending champion Diliman College inched closer to earning a semis berth with a 61-58 decision over University of Batangas, while Olivarez College repeated over PCU, 77-68.
The win – their 6th in 9 starts in the seven-team tournament – pushed Diliman Dragons closer to earning a semis while the Olivarez Sea Lions improved 6-4 – the same record as the Dolphins.
Robbi Darang sparked a back-breaking second-quarter onslaught to seize the momentum which they never relinquished. Darang led four Diliman players in double figures with 14 points.
GMC tried to make a run of its own in the final half but proved no match as the Scorpions continued to puncture the hoop with impunity on the way to extending their winning streak to nine games in the seven-team tournament.
As things stand now, CEU, which survived the gutsy challenge of Olivarez College, 66-55, last Thursday, can advance outright to the finals if it wins its last three games in the double-round elims.
Ayodeji Balogun led CEU with another double-double of 26 points and 16 boards.
Meantime, the league takes a three-week holiday break starting Tuesday and will return on Jan. 9, 2023.