Beninese student-athlete Kevine Gandjeto saved his best for last.
Behind Gandjeto’s will, the Diliman College Blue Dragons outlasted the Olivarez College Sea Lions, 63-57, Monday afternoon to rule the Universities and Colleges Basketball League Season 3.
Gandjeto silenced the big Sea Lions crowd that packed the Olivarez gym in Parañaque, as he produced the game’s biggest plays for the Blue Dragons in the final three minutes of the game.
Gandjeto’s dunk in the last 10.6 seconds put the exclamation point, as Diliman won the series, 2-1.
“Napakasarap itong championship na ito. No one expected us to be in this situation. It was hard work and perseverance of the players that won it for us,” said Diliman coach Renzy Bajar.
Making up for a seven-point, five-rebound outing in last Thursday’s 71-80 loss that leveled the series, Gandjeto came up with 14 points, 10 rebounds, three blocks, and three steals for Diliman.
The Blue Dragons went on a 9-0 run to grab a 15-8 lead, before the Sea Lions closed out the first period with seven straight points to tie the game at 15.
Graduating swingman John Mahari – who scored four of his seven points in the Blue Dragons’ telling 11-0 run, that erased a 41-47 deficit early in the fourth period that changed the complexion of the match – was named the Finals MVP.
Joshua Almajeda led the Sea Lions with 14 points, five rebounds and four assists, while Dwight Saguiguit had 12 points, four assists and four boards.
Paolo Castro, Olivarez’s heart and soul, struggled, going scoreless in the first half and eventually finishing with only six points.
Diliman 63 – Brutas 14, Gandjeto 14, Bauzon 11, Mahari 7, Enriquez 6, Darang 4, Salazar E. 4, Coquia 3, Salazar J. 0, Ligon 0.
Olivarez 57 – Almajeda 14, Saguiguit 12, Elie 9, Lalata 8, Castro 6, Begaso 4, Udoba 2, Sala 2, Completo 0, De Leon 0.
Quarterscores: 15-15; 32-28; 41-45; 63-57.