After getting an extra day to live, Olivarez College vowed to give it all when it faces Technological Institute of the Philippines in a do-or-die duel showdown for the second Finals berth Saturday in the UCBL at the Olivarez Sports Center.
Banking on a furious second quarter attack, the Olivarez Sea Lions wiped out a five-point first quarter deficit, then turned on the heat from there to pull away, 70-53 over the Engineers, who came into game armed with a twice-to-beat advantage.
Emboldened by a 65-63 win over the Scorpions in the last playing day of the elims, the Sea Lions showed steely resolve as they refused to panic despite another tentative start.
But when their offensive rhythm got going, the Sea Lions, led by Albert Rabe, Lawrence Udoba and Pruvil Bermudez, unleashed a mighty 25-9 run in the second frame to take a 35-24 halftime lead.
That was all the Sea Lions needed to take the fight out of the Engineers who shot poorly for the second straight game. They also lost their final elimination assignment to the Diliman College Blue Dragons.
The win over TIP was the first for Olivarez in three meetings, and coach Michael Saguiguit is hoping it will not be their last.
Albert Rabe led the way for the Sea Lions with 16 points, 11 rebounds, four assists and two steals while Lawrence Udoba and Pruvil Bermudez chipped in 12 and 11 points respectively.
Centro Escolar University and TIP claimed twice-to-beat advantages in the semis after finishing 1-2 at the end of the double-round elims with 11-1 and 8-4 records, respectively.
The winner in the Olivarez-TIP showdown will face the CEU Scorpions in a best-of-three series starting next Monday.
Behind a well-balanced attack, the Scorpions claimed the first Finals slot with a masterful 99-57 win over the Colegio de San Lorenzo Griffins.