Diliman College is bidding to become the first back-to-back champion, while Olivarez College believes that third time’s the charm.
In light of their missions, expect both teams to pull out all the stops as they start their best-of-three title series today in the PG Flex Linoleum-Universities and Colleges Basketball League at the Olivarez College gym in Parañaque City.
Since the title series is a short one, it is imperative for both teams to start strong in their 2:30 p.m. encounter in the hope of securing the win and the psychological advantage.
The Diliman Blue Dragons, however, appear to be holding all the aces, having beaten the Sea Lions in last year’s finals, 2-1, and enjoying a 6-1 advantage in their personal duel since the birth of the league four years ago.
They also took the No. 1 seed in the semis after finishing with a 9-1 card – their only defeat was inflicted by Technological Institute of the Philippines.
In the only time they met this season, the Blue Dragons prevailed, 72-66, thanks to the impressive shooting of JR Bauzon,
Clashing in the first game at 12 noon are Centro Escolar University and University of Batangas. Meanwhile, the awarding ceremony for MVP, Mythical Five and Best Foreign Player will be held at 2 p.m.
Olivarez also advanced to the finals in the inaugural season but was beaten by CEU, 2-0.
Apart from Bauzon, Diliman coach Rensy Bajar can also count on Robbi Darang, Ismael Pacheco, and a pair of foreign players in Senegalese 6-foot-11 Abdoulaye Niang and Kevin Steeve Gandjeto of Benin.
The Sea Lions of coach Myk Saguiguit will have to play smart, tough, and consistent on both ends to have a better chance of beating the Blue Dragons.
Out to provide the firepower for the Sea Lions are Rey Joey Barcuma, Jayboy Solis, Lance de Leon, Ace Lavariaz, Kim Siege, and Cameroonian 6-foot-7 Elie Yani.