COLEGIO de San Lorenzo made sure there would be no more meltdown as the Griffins unleashed the full might of their offense in the payoff period to beat the Olivarez College Sea Lions, 78-61, in the knockout duel and advance to the finals of the 2nd Universities and Colleges Basketball League at the Olivarez gym in Parañaque City.
With the return of PBA hopeful Jon Gabriel and the powerful inside plays of Beninese big man Soulemane Chabi Yo, the Griffins pulled away from a tight contest in the third quarter to secure the right to face defending champion Centro Escolar University.
The best-of-three title series starts on Saturday.
CdSL coach Boni Garcia also got big games from veterans Charles Callano and Gelo Sablan.
The host school forced the sudden death in their semis series with the Griffins with a 74-69 win last Monday.
The 6-foot-6 Chabi Yo made up for his so-so showing last Monday by tallying 22 points and 14 rebounds while Callano continued his stellar play with 21 points, 10 rebounds and six assists.
More than his 13-point effort, Gabriel provided inspiration to his teammates.
“His mere presence alone, despite not having the ball at all times on the offensive end, provides us a lot,” said Garcia of Gabriel who struggled from the field on 3-of-14 shooting but still finished with 13 points, four rebounds and two blocks in 22 minutes of play off the bench.
“He’s a vital part of our campaign this season and I’m just happy that we were able to activate him at the most opportune time,” added Garcia of his prized Tarlac native big man who was selected 11th overall by TNT KaTropa in last month’s PBA Rookie Draft.
CdSL 78 — Chabi Yo 22, Callano 21, Sablan 16, Gabriel 13, Alvarado 4, Ancheta 2, Borja 0, Formento 0, Laman 0, Rojas 0.
Olivarez 61 — Castro 19, Sunga 15, Bermudes 9, Elie 6, Saguiguit 6, Solis 6, Almajeda 0, Begaso 0, Geronimo 0, Lalata 0, Navarro 0, Rabe 0, Uduba 0.
Quarterscores: 21-16; 36-29; 52-40; 78-61.