POWERHOUSE Centro Escolar University battles Olivarez College in a rematch of last season’s exciting finale as the 2nd Universities and Colleges Basketball League (UCBL) unfurls Thursday at the Olivarez College gym in Sucat, Paranaque.
A hot start was the marching order for the CEU Scorpions but coach Efren ‘Yong’ Garcia sees a tight contest when they clash in the featured match at 2 p.m.
For one, the Olivarez Sea Lions will be reinforced by a pair of foreign players in 6-foot-7 Yanie Elie and 6-foot-8 Didier Rick Maganga.
Elie is from Cameroon while Maganga is from Libreville.
“They have beefed up their frontline so I’m sure we have to walk the tightrope before beating them,” said Garcia. “But we are ready against any team.”
Leading the Scorpions are the ever dependable Rod Ebondo, Mark Cruz, Christian Uri and Orlan Wamar.
The Scorpions are coming off a surprising runners-up finish in the recent PBA Developmental League, a performance that installed themselves the odds-on favorites.
Bulacan State University and University of Batangas meet at 12 noon in a showdown between two of the three provincial teams.
BSU is perhaps the smallest squad in the 8-team tournament although it boasts of a 6-foot-7 center in David Adebola.
With the experience they learned last season, the UB Brahmans are expected to pull off surprises.
A brief but meaningful opening ceremony is set at 11 a.m. with UCBL president Franklin Evidente expected to welcome officials and owners of the participating schools.
“This season we expect a wild race for the finals,” he said.
The matches will be shown on a delayed basis on IBC 13.
Meantime, newcomer Lyceum of the Philippines University-Batangas debuts on Saturday against the dangerous Colegio De San Lorenzo College.