DILIMAN College caught fire in the payoff period and defeated Olivarez College, 80-71, in Game One of the Universities and Colleges Basketball League finals on Monday at the Olivarez College gym in Parañaque City.
With John Mahari and Steve Gandjeto at the helm, the Diliman Blue Dragons outscored the Olivarez Sea Lions, 39-23, in the fourth quarter to draw first blood in their best-of-three title series.
Coach Rensy Bajar and the Dragons go for the sweep on Thursday.
“We hope we can sustain our winning drive and clinch the championship,” said Bajar. “As I expected, Olivarez is a tough team, not easy to beat.”
"Breaks of the game lang. Sinuwerte nung huli. Pero alam na namin gagawin namin sa next games," added Bajar.
Mahari and Gandjeto delivered when they needed a spurt starting in the third quarter that saw them score the first seven points to tie the count at 48.
The 6-foot-7 Gandjeto, a native of Benin, completed another double-double with 21 points on 5-of-11 shooting from the field and 14 boards.
Mahari had 20 points, including three crucial free throws that helped the Blue Dragons quash Olivarez’s last-ditch comeback.
Diliman’s win was its third over Olivarez and 10th straight since the eliminations.
Again, it was another disappointing finish for the Sea Lions who took control of the game in the first half only to crumble in the face of Diliman’s furious comeback.
Former champion Centro Escolar University tries to salvage third when it battles Technological Institute of the Philippines on Thursday.
Diliman College 80 – Gandjeto 21, Mahari 20, Coquia 10, Enriquez 9, Darang 6, J. Salazar 5, Lisika 4, Bauzon 0, Sombero 0, E. Salazar 0.
Olivarez College 71 – Saguiguit 22, Castro 13, Almajeda 13, Lalata 9, Uduba 6, Elie 6, Geronimo 2, Complete 0, Begaso 0, Siegue 0, Santos 0, Sala 0.
Quarterscores: 12-15; 23-33; 41-48; 80-71.