ROBBI Darang hit a tough jumper in the last seven seconds as top seed Diliman College snatched a 64-63 victory over Centro Escolar U to claim the first finals berth in the PG Flex Linoleum-Universities and Colleges Basketball League at the Olivarez College gym in Paranaque.
The top-seeded Blue Dragons also shackled the Scorpions with their pesky defense in the stretch, forcing CEU’s Maodo Diouf to issue an errant pass that preserved Darang’s late-game heroics and kept them on track for a first-ever back-to-back championship in the league.
The No. 4 Scorpions, who needed two victories to barge into the finals, came close to pulling it off as Eric Tuadles rifled in a triple to shove CEU ahead, 63-62, with only 35 seconds left.
But after three flubbed Diliman College shots, including two from Abdoulaye Niang, and a turnover, the Blue Dragons went to their defense to force CEU to a turnover in the last 17 seconds, leading to Darang's game-winner.
The Blue Dragons will face the winner of the Olivarez College-University of Batangas duel, being played at presstime, for the crown set next week. As the No. 2 seed, the Olivarez Sea Lions need only a victory to arrange another title clash with the Blue Dragons.
Matches are shown on a delayed basis on Solar Sports.
Kevine Gandjeto topscored for Diliman with 13 points while Billshan Digno fired 12 points in the first three quarters but was held scoreless in the last 10 minutes.
Niang, who scored 10 points, and Jethro Sombrero took over to keep the Blue Dragonsof coach Rensy Bajar in step with the Scorpions before Darang caught fire in the clutch.
Diouf finished with a game-high 28 points and drew a combined 23-point output from Dave Bernabe and Tuadles.