DILIMAN College destroyed defending champion Centro Escolar University’s aura of invincibility with a even as Lyceum-Batangas notched its second win in the Universities and Colleges Basketball League Season 2 on Saturday at the Olivarez College gym in Parañaque City.
Adama Diakhite expectedly produced huge numbers, tallying 17 points, 16 rebounds and seven blocks as the Blue Dragons defeated the Scorpions, 59-56.
But it was Joseph Brutas who made the difference, coming through with the biggest play that completed their fightback from an early 12-point deficit against fast-starting CEU.
Diliman’s win, their fourth straight and sixth overall in seven games, created a three-way tie for the lead with the Blue Dragons joining the Scorpions and the Colegio de San Lorenzo Griffins.
“He’s always been ready when his number is called,” said Blue Dragons coach Rensy Bajar of Brutas who came off the bench and fired a game-high-tying 17 points, including a pair of insurance free throws with seven seconds to play.
CEU’s Rod Ebondo was limited to just 13 points.
The Lyceum Batangas Pirates, on the other hand, leaned on the heroics of Bryan Buen to beat Bulacan State University in overtime, 114-106.
The sweet-shooting Buen fired away a game-high 33 points, 19 of them coming in the stretch, as the Pirates wiped out a five-point deficit with under a minute left in regulation and outgunned the fading Gold Gears in the extra five-minute period.
Leo Fernandez backed up Buen with 23 points while guard Rommel Saliente did a little bit of everything with 18 points, 17 assists and 11 rebounds for this season’s first triple-double to help Lyceum-Batangas notch its second straight win in seven starts.
“My players really wanted to win. They just keep on fighting and grinding it out,” said Pirates coach Dan Acero, visibly thrilled with his wards’ collective poise after trailing 91-96 with 47 seconds to play in regulation.
Reigning league MVP Dominck Fajardo and Nigerian center David Adebola combined for 38 points and 30 rebounds while Christian Necio sizzled with a team-high 24 points for the Gold Gears.
Lyceum-Batangas 114 – Buen 33, Fernandez 23, Saliente 18, Lapasaran 12, Villaluna 10, Villanueva 10, Axalan 6, Solitario 2, Eranes 0, Olarte 0.
Bulacan State U 106 – Necio 24, Fajardo 20, Adebola 18, Dela Cruz 17, Crisostomo 9, M. Mendoza 7, Cristobal 5, Odoy 3, Ledesma 2, J. Mendoza 1, Enrile 0, Sellano 0, Solayao 0.
Quarterscores: 22-24; 48-55; 75-80; 96-96; 114-106 (OT).
Diliman College 59 — Brutas 17, Diakhite 17, Mondala 9, Darang 4, Ligon 4, Gerero 2, Salazar 2, Sombero 2, Bauzon 2, Corpuz 0, Mbiya 0.
CEU 56 — Fuentes 15, Ebondo 13, Wamar 11, Baconcon 8, Guinitaran 4, Demigaya 3, Uri 2, Arim 0, Manlangit 0, Umeanozie 0.
Quarterscores: 11-19; 24-36; 45-46; 59-56.