DILIMAN College and Centro Escolar University look to seal an anticipated title showdown when they face separate rivals in the Universities and Colleges Basketball League (UCBL) Season 3 at the Olivarez College in Parañaque City.
The top-seeded Diliman Blue Dragons tackle the fourth-ranked Technological Institute of the Philippines Engineers at 2 p.m. while the CEU Scorpions, the No. 2 seed, collide with the third-ranked Olivarez College Sea Lions at 12 noon.
The semis series are both set for three games but the Blue Dragons and the Scorpions need only to win the opener of their respective series to forge a title showdown beginning on Thursday.
Diliman and CEU clinched twice-to-beat privileges after finishing one-two in the double-round elims with the Blue Dragons capping their nine-game winning run with an 87-86 win over the Scorpions.
Though CEU’s defeat in the race for No. 1 seed to the Blue Dragons last Thursday ended an impressive 10-game winning streak, the Scorpions are still favored over the Sea Lions.
The Scorpions were stunned by the Sea Lions in the opener, 86-83, but the former regrouped right away and strung up 10 wins, including an 89-82 victory over the Sea Lions last Nov. 15.
But focus is on the rise of Diliman as a major player in collegiate basketball.
Handled by Rensy Bajar, the Blue Dragons are looking for their second title in two months having won a division title in the Fr. Martin Cup.
Bajar is likewise hoping for a repeat performance from Robbi Darang, who buried a jumper in the final 17.5 seconds to help the Blue Dragons exact sweet revenge over the Scorpions.
Out to provide additional firepower for the Blue Dragons are Joseph Brutas, Kevin Gandjeto and Johnnel Bauzon.
Adding excitement to the Diliman-TIP clash is the battle of wits between Bajar and Potit de Vera (TIP mentor). The two are assistant coaches of Pido Jarencio at NorthPort in the PBA.