TECHNOLOGICAL Institute of the Philippines nailed the remaining twice-to-beat slot in the Final Four with a 79-74 victory over Olivarez College on Thursday in the Universities and Colleges Basketball League at the Olivarez Sports Center.
Roldan Pinas and Harley Diego combined for 27 points while Ikee Akpuru had a double-double effort of 11 points and 11 rebounds on top of four blocks and four blocks for the Engineers.
Fancied Centro Escolar University turned back Bulacan State University, 83-74, and inched closer to a sweep of the double-round eliminations.
With coach Yong Garcia giving his reserves more playing time, the Scorpions played just hard enough to extend their perfect run to 11 games.
"Lagi sinsabi ni coach na we play at our level and compete. We have to give our 100 percent in every game," said Orlan Wamar, who took the player of the game honors with 11 points, two assists and two rebounds to lead CEU.
The Scorpions also got 10 points and 11 rebounds from Ebuka Umeanozie, as Rodrigue Ebondo had the luxury of getting more rest heading into the playoffs.
Posting its eighth win in 11 contests, TIP secured the No. 2 seed in the playoffs even if it drops its last elimination round game against Diliman College on Monday.
The Engineers hold the tiebreaker over the Sea Lions as the Quiapo-based dribblers completed a sweep of their head-to-head in the elims.
Olivarez, which dropped to 7-4, settles for the third seed and will wrap up its elimination round campaign against CEU on Monday.
Richard Sing led the Sea Lions with 16 points while Lordy Geronimo added 12 points and 13 boards.
TIP trailed by as many as 10 points in the first period before exploding for 29 points in the second quarter to take a 45-36 lead at the break and never looked back.
The Engineers shared the ball well, with Paul Rosopa dishing out six of his team's 22 assists.
TIP 79 — Pinas 14, Diego 13, Akpuru 11, Enriquez 10, Magtinas 7, Santos 7, Gadon 6, Napoles 6, Rosopa 5, Okoronkwo 0.
Olivarez 74 - Sing 16, Geronimo 12, Sunga 10, Belaso 9, Udoba 9, Sala 9, Saguitguit 4, Rabusa 2, Bermudez 1, Francis 1, Navarro 1, Almajeda 0, Diaz 0.
Quarterscores: 16-24; 45-36; 63-57; 79-74.
CEU 83 — Wamar 11, Umeanozie 10, Opiso 8, Aquino 7, Manlangit 7, Casino 6, Veron 6, Fuentes 6, De Leon 5, Arim 4, Guinitaran 3, Saber 2, Quiminales 0.
Bulacan State U 74 — Fajardo 21, Reyes 17, Jauco 10, Mendoza A. 9, Dela Cruz 6, Necio 6, De Leon 5, Mendoza J. 0, Odoy 0.
Quarterscores: 30-18; 45-36; 63-55; 83-74.