CENTRO Escolar University and Olivarez College begin their Universities and Colleges Basketball League best-of-three championship showdown on Monday at the Olivarez Sports Center in Parañaque City.
The match is set at 12 p.m.
While the Scorpions are the overwhelming favorites on paper, coach Yong Garcia is not taking the Sea Lions lightly.
The Scorpions mauled the Sea Lions twice in the eliminations, but Garcia expects a tougher Olivaez squad in the finals.
“The elimination round is far different from the finals and they showed great character during their semis series with TIP,” said Garcia. “We’ll have to start from scratch since we have already been scouted from the elims to the semis.”
The Sea Lions enter the finals confident after beating twice-to-beat Technological Institute of the Philippines, completing the upset with a 42-38 victory on Saturday.
“We were overwhelmed with our little achievement, I just hope we can sustain in and give CEU a good fight,” said Olivarez College coach Michael Saguiguit.
“Everybody knows that we are the smallest team in the league. So, we will try to put up a good defense.”
The Scorpions are also well-rested, after disposing of the Colegio De San Lorenzo in one game.
“The Sea Lions are obviously reinvigorated by their win over the TIP Engineers, so just imagine their confidence going to the finals,” said Garcia.
Another reason Garcia is wary of the Sea Lions is the crowd support.
“The crowd is their ‘sixth man’ so we’ll have to play as hard as we can to overcome that,” added Garcia, who is hoping to get another huge numbers from Rod Ebondo.
Aside from the 6-foot-6 Ebondo, Garcia is looking forward to get significant numbers from a bevy of role players, including Samboy de Leon, Orlan Wamar and John Karlo Casiño.