TWO provincial teams are out to make an impression when they go up against the Big City bets as the Universities and Colleges Basketball League (UCBL) opens Saturday at the Olivarez College gym in Paranaque City.
First to showcase its wares is Bulacan State University as the Gold Gears collide with the Olivarez College Sea Lions at 1 p.m. in a matchup of two teams similarly relying on their speed and quick ball movements to make up for lack of a towering frontcourt.
The host squad has no player standing more than 6-foot-3 with Jayboy Solis being the tallest, while the Gold Gears parade a pair of 6-foot-1 players as centers.
Still, coaches of both schools – Antonio Tayao of BSU and Michael Saguiguit of Olivarez– are confident they can pull off surprises along the way.
Also looking for a good start in the league sponsored by Lamoiyan Corp. and EuroMed is the University of Batangas Brahman, who will collide with one of the two title favorites in Technological Institute of the Philippines Engineers.
Their showdown is set at 3 p.m. with the Engineers determined to apply their experience and use their vaunted firepower to open their campaign with a win.
Aside from TIP, also fancied to win the inaugural seven-team tournament is Centro Escolar University.
CEU has blossomed into one of the most successful collegiate teams in the country by dominating the other collegiate leagues aside from a successful PBA D-League stint against more experienced team.
Diliman College and Colegio de San Lorenzo round out the two other teams in the tournament that will have a double round elimination.
Franklin Evidente, president of the organizing Universities and Colleges Athletic League, lauded the tournament favorites but he still expects an interesting chase for the title.
“While CEU and TIP have vast experiences and the necessary ingredients to be champion teams, I still expect a wide race for the title,” said Evidente. “I’m very happy that after months of hard work we are now staging this event.
Games will be played on Monday, Thursday and Saturday (12 noon to 4 p.m.) and will be shown on TV (IBC 13) from 8 p.m. to 12 midnight.
(Olivarez College gym, Paranaque City)
12 noon – Opening Ceremony
1 p.m. – Olivarez College vs BSU
3 p.m. – TIP vs Univ. of Batangas