SENEGALESE import Adama Diakhite showed the way as Diliman College pulled off a thrilling come-from-behind, 67-65, victory over Technological Institute of the Philippines in the Universities and Colleges Basketball League Season 2 at the Olivarez College gym in Parañaque.
The 6-foot-9 Diakhite had 17 of his game-high 33 markers in the final frame, highlighted by the game-winning turnaround hook shot with 20.1 seconds left, to help the Blue Dragons complete their fightback from 10 points down.
Diakhite also had 16 rebounds and four blocks as Diliman College earned a share of the early lead with upstart Bulacan State University and defending champion Centro Escolar University.
“It was a very tough game. Good thing, Adama saved the day for us,” said Diliman College coach Rensy Bajar.
Veteran guard Rickson Gerero tallied 19 points, while Joseph Brutas added eight markers, highlighted by a clutch triple that tied the game at 65 with 55.8 seconds to play.
The loss was a tough one for the Engineers, who controlled majority of the way and led by as many as 10 points thrice, the last at 63-53 with under five minutes left, only to crumble in the face of the Diakhite-led Blue Dragons’ rally.
“As I expected, the opening game is always difficult since most of the players are very excited and somewhat tentative. Hopefully my players can make the necessary adjustments next game,” added Bajar.
Second-stringer Sean Karl Mallari had 13 points while starter Kevin Lara added 12 points for TIP.
Diliman College 67 — Diakhite 33, Gerero 19, Brutas 8, Bauzon 3, Ligon 2, Chavenia 1, Mondala 1, Corpuz 0, Darang 0, Handag 0, Mbiya 0, Salazar 0, Sombero, 0.
TIP 65 — Mallari 13, Lara 12, Daguro 9, Napoles 6, Primo 6, Manalang 4, Palisoc 4, Quiambao 3, latu 2, Ramos 2, Soriano 2, Tan 2, Jimenez 0, Limpiada 0.
Quarterscores: 15-10; 28-31; 42-49; 67-65.