Games Monday (Olivarez College, Parañaque City): 12 noon – Diliman vs CEU; 2 p.m. – Olivarez vs UB
TOP seed Diliman College and second-ranked Olivarez College try to forge a best-of-three title clash for the second straight season when they go up against their respective semis rivals on Monday in the PG Flex Linoleum-Universities and Colleges Basketball League (UCBL) at the Olivarez College gym in Parañaque City.
The Diliman Blue Dragons battle the fourth-ranked Centro Escolar University at 12 noon before the Olivarez Sea Lions tackle the University of Batangas Brahmans at 2 p.m.
Both Diliman and Olivarez need only to win once to arrange another title clash having secured a bonus for finishing 1-2 in the two-phase elims of the annual tournament now on its fourth season.
If needed, the next playing date will be on Nov. 4 also at the Olivarez College. Matches are shown on delayed basis on Solar Sports.
Though the Rensy Bajar-mentored Blue Dragons have beaten the Scorpions twice in the elims, they are coming into the game still smarting from a shock 108-85 defeat to the Technological Institute of the Philippines Engineers exactly a week ago, a loss that snapped their impressive 9-game winning run.
In their first meeting, the Blue Dragons bludgeoned the six-man Scorpions, 90-62, but experienced some scary moments before prevailing, 66-62, in the second phase of the elims where the Mendiola-based CEU played in full force.
Out to lead the Blue Dragons are Johnnel Rey Bauzon, Ismael Pachexco, Robbi Darang and Kevine Steeve Gandjeto while CEU coach Derrick Pumaren can always count on the 6-foot-9 Maodo Malick Diouf, Franz Ray Diaz, Eric Tuadles and JC Carandang.
The Sea Lions finished the elims with an 8-2 mark and two of their victories came at the expense of the Brahmans – 84-78 in the first round and 80-65 in the second phase – thanks to the efforts of the 6-foot-7 Cameroonian Elie Yani, John Lester Maurillo and Ace Lavariaz.
UB and CEU finished the elims with similar 7-3 records but the Brahmans took the No. 3 spot due to the winner over the rule, having beaten the also undermanned Scorpions, 112-86, in the first round.
Like the Scorpions, the Sea Lions are looking for their third finals appearance while the Blue Dragons are bidding to become the first back-to-back champions of the league.