The Diliman College Blue Dragons went berserk in the payoff period and subdued the Olivarez College Sea Lions, 80-71, in Game 1 of their title series in the Universities and Colleges Basketball League Season 3, Monday at the latter’s home turf in Parañaque.
With John Mahari and Steve Gandjeto at the helm, the Diliman Blue Dragons outplayed and outscored the Olivarez Sea Lions, 39-23, in the fourth quarter to draw first blood in their best-of-three title series.
The Blue Dragons of former Sen. Nikki Coseteng and coach Rensy Bajar can clinch their first major title with another win on Thursday.
“We hope we can sustain our winning drive and clinch the championship,” said Bajar, a former member of the Philippine team. “As I expected, Olivarez is a tough team, not easy to beat.
“Breaks of the game lang. Sinuwerte nung huli. Pero alam na namin gagawin namin sa next games,” added Bajar.
Good thing for Bajar, Mahari and Gandjeto delivered when they needed a spurt starting in the third quarter that saw them score the first seven points to tie the count at 48-all.
The Blue Dragons then took control as they made their outside shots while Gandjeto wrecked havoc down low.
The 6-foot-7 Gandjeto, a native of Benin, completed another double-double with 21 points on 5-of-11 shooting from the field and 14 boards, eight of them offensively.
Mahari chipped in 20 points, including three crucial free throws that helped the Blue Dragons quash Olivarez’s last-ditch comeback.
Diliman’s win was its third over Olivarez and 10th straight since the elims.