The Centro Escolar University Scorpions extended their winning streak to nine games, while the Technological Institute of the Philippines Engineers completed the semis cast in the Universities and Colleges Basketball League Season 3, Monday at the Olivarez College gym in Parañaque City.
Working off the hot hands of John Rojas, Rich Guinitaran, and Orlan Wamar, the CEU Scorpions blasted the also-ran Philippine Christian University-Dasmariñas Dolphins, 95-76, to gain a share of the lead. The TIP Engineers repeated a win over the St. Joseph College of Bulacan Taurus, 96-59, to claim the fourth semis berth.
Aside from tying the Diliman College Blue Dragons for the lead, the Scorpions also boosted their bid for a twice-to-beat advantage in the semis.
Protecting a slim 76-70 lead early in the fourth quarter, Wamar touched off a quick 8-2 run that once again ballooned their lead and was enough to take the fight out of the Dolphins.
More than that, they also gained an extra motivation in time for their crucial duel with their first-round tormentors, the Olivarez College Sea Lions, on Thursday.
After Olivarez College, CEU will face the Diliman College on November 22, in what could a showdown for the top seeding.
The Scorpions lost to the Sea Lions, 86-83, in the opener last September but quickly pulled their act together to string up nine wins and put themselves in a position to clinch the first bonus in the seven-team tournament.
The Sea Lions have already qualified in the semis with an 8-2 mark.
Rojas led the Scorpions with 21 points on an impressive 8-of-10 shooting from the field, with Guinataran and Wamar adding 19 and 15 points, respectively.
On the other hand, the Engineers banked heavily on another torrid start to improve to 6-4, assuring themselves of the fourth and last semis berth, no matter what happens to their last two games.