By: Jerome Lagunzad
12 noon — Olivarez vs Diliman
(Battle for 3rd)
2 p.m. — CEU vs CdSL
(Game 1, best-of-three finals)
A classic titular showdown is in the offing as defending champion Centro Escolar University and worthy challenger Colegio de San Lorenzo square off today at the start of their best-of-three finals series in the Universities and Colleges Basketball League (UCBL) Season 2 at the Olivarez Coliseum in Sucat, Parañaque City.
Tip off is at 2 p.m., with the Scorpions out to inch closer towards a title repeat even without prized center Rod Ebondo and the Griffins determined to continue living up to their billing as a genuine force to be reckoned with.
Both squads, which finished 1-2 in the double-round eliminations, are expected to thrive on their contrasting styles, with CEU emerging as the league’s top defensive unit and CdSL looking to push the leather on every opportunity.
“CEU is a very competitive team. They’re the defending champions so they know what it takes to win. For us, we just need to control the tempo and maximize our strengths,” said CdSL coach Boni Garcia.
Despite getting swept by the Scorpions in the eliminations, the Griffins should come in as favorites following the return of pro league hopeful Jon Gabriel to their fold, giving Garcia another dependable big man alongside Benin native Soulemane Chabi Yo.
The 6-foot-6 Gabriel made his presence felt in CdSL’s dominant 78-61 win over Olivarez College in their knockout duel last Thursday, piling up 13 points, four rebounds and two blocks in 22 minutes of play off the bench.
“We’re really a different team when Jon is around. He can disrupt the flow of our opponents defensively and he can also create mismatches on the offensive end. He’s really a big asset for us,” said Garcia.