Colegio de San Lorenzo exploited the absence of Congolese center Rod Ebondo this time and came away with a stunning 86-78 win over defending champion Centro Escolar University at the start of their title series in the 2nd Universities and Colleges Basketball League (UCBL) Saturday at the Olivarez Sports Center in Sucat, Parañaque City.
Without the 6-foot-9 Ebondo to contend with, the Griffins attacked the paint ferociously and were rewarded abundantly as they erected a 21-point spread before warding off CEU’s comeback bid.
Ebondo is now part of Congo’s national team training for a major international meet.
CdSL can clinch its first major championship with another win on Monday also at the Olivarez.
As expected, the Griffins went to Benin big man Soulemane Chabi Yo who responded with 20 points, 14 rebounds and three blocks while guard Charles Callano and pro league hopeful Jon Gabriel also produced significant numbers especially in a torrid first half assault.
The Scorpions did try to turn the game around, closing in on 79-71 but Formento buried a huge triple and set up Gabriel for another big shopt that enabled them to restore.
“CEU won’t simply go down without a fight. I’m glad that my players stuck to the gameplan and rose to the challenge in time,” said CdSL coach Boni Garcia.
Meantime, Gunner Paulo Castro banged in four in a decisive 11-4 run as Olivarez College salvaged third with a 60-57 win over Diliman College.
“My players showed that they really wanted to go out with a bang. We may not reached our desired destination, but we’ll take this one,” said Olivarez College coach Mike Saguiguit.
Olivarez 60 — Saguiguit 10, Uduba 10, Castro 10, Sunga 8, Elie 7, Lalata 4, Almajeda 4, Begaso 3, Navarro 2, Bermudes 2, Prado 0, Maganga 0, Geronimo 0.
Diliman 57 — Diakhite 18, Gerero 17, Salazar 8, Ligon 6, Brutas 5, Corpuz 3, Bauzon 0, Darang 0, Mondala 0, Mbiya 0.
Quarters: 11-19, 21-29, 40-42, 60-57.
CdSL 86 — Callano 21, Chabi Yo 20, Gabriel 16, Formento 12, Sablan 10, Alvarado 5, Rojas 2, Ancheta 0, Laman 0, Gojar 0.
CEU 78 — Fuentes 26, Wamar 25, Guinitaran 5, Intic 5, Caballero 5, Umeanozie 4, Manlangit 4, Arim 2, Cruz 2, Uri 0, Baconcon 0.
Quarters: 22-16, 41-28, 68-52, 86-78.