OLIVAREZ College outlasted Technological Institute of the Philippines in a defensive battle, 42-38, and secured the right to face Centro Escolar University in the finals of the Universities and College Basketball League (UCBL) at the Olivarez Sports Center yesterday in Paranaque City.
The Sea Lions fought the Engineers on even terms in the opening quarter, controlled the second quarter with their tight defense, wavered a bit in the next before relying once again on their trapping defense to win their low-scoring do-or-die game.
Making up for its smaller line-up, Olivarez surprised TIP with their pressure defense, holding the Engineers to just seven points in the payoff period to beat the second seeded team twice in three days.
The Sea Lions won the first semifinal match, 70-53, on Thursday.
Game One of the finals is set on Monday.
“Everybody knows that we are the smallest team in the league. So, our only chance against TIP is to put up a good defense. I told my players that if we can’t play tight defense there’s no way we reach the finals,” said Olivarez coach Mike Saguiguit.
Vin Velaso, Richard Singh and Mavrick Saguiguit scored in an 8-0 run to end the Engineers’ comeback attempt in the fourth.
Singh emerged as the only double-digit scorer of the game with 10 points, with Jayboy Solis held to only eight points.
Albert Rabe, who led the Sea Lions the last time, was limited also to six points.
Olivarez 42 – Singh 10, Solis 8, Belaso 6, Rabe 6, Sunga 4, Saguiguit 3, Uduba 3, Bermudez 2, Sala 0, Navarro 0, Geronimo 0, Almeajada 0
TIP 38 – Napoles 7, Santos B. 7, Akpuru 7, Diego 6, Rosopa 3, Matignas 2, Santos I. 2, Pinas 2, Jimenez 0, Gadon 0, Okoronkwo 0, Enriquez 0
Quarterscores: 10-12; 21-16; 30-31; 42-38.