The Olivarez College Sea Lions finally found an antidote and beat the Diliman College Blue Dragons for the first time this season, 81-73, forcing a sudden death match in the Universities and Colleges Basketball League (UCBL) Season 3 title series, Thursday at the Olivarez Gym in Parañaque City.
Cheered on by a huge crowd, the Sea Lions scored eight points while holding the Blue Dragons scoreless in the first four minutes of the payoff period, to end a three-game losing run against the Diliman dribblers.
The Blue Dragons clearly groped for their shots – no thanks to the Blue Dragons’ aggressive stand.
Vinn Begaso turned out to be a revelation for the Sea Lions, as he produced a double-double effort of 20 points and 16 boards. He also had four assists to highlight a solid all-around game.
Olivarez’s win likewise snapped Diliman’s impressive 10-game winning run, dating back the elims.
Four other Olivarez players scored in double figures with Joshua Alamejeda adding 14, while Lawrence Castro and Dwight Saguiguit chipped in 12 points each. Chris Lalata contributing 10.
“The boys were focused to win this time,” said coach Myk Saguiguit. “They really worked hard for it, especially Vinn.”
Though they started tentatively, the Sea Lions regrouped in the second frame and outscored the Blue Dragons, 19-14, to take a 65-62 half time lead.
They went on to control the game, as they engaged the Rensy Bajar-mentored Sea Lions in an exciting third quarter shootout.
John Mahari paced the Blue Dragons with 18 points, but got little support from Benin’s Steve Gandjeto, who struggled for seven points and five rebounds.
Meanwhile, the Centro Escolar University salvaged some measure of pride by finishing third following an 81-73 win over the Technological Institute of the Philippines.
The do-or-die match is set on Monday at 12:00pm, with the momentum definitely on Olivarez’s side.