Colegio de San Lorenzo (CdSL) banked on Jan Formento down the stretch as it fended off defending champion Centro Escolar University (CEU), 86-78, to move one win within the Universities and Colleges (UCBL) Season 2 championship on Saturday at the Olivarez College Gym in Parañaque City.
Formento came up with two crucial plays in the endgame as the Griffins repulsed the Scorpions’ late fightback to close in on the league’s second trophy.
The 5-foot-9 guard hit a booming triple then issued a nifty pass to Jon Gabriel in the ensuing play, giving San Lorenzo a commanding lead after top gunner Orlan Wamar sank three straight treys to push Centro Escolar to within 71-79 with four minutes remaining.
“CEU won’t simply go down without a fight. I’m glad that my players stuck to the game plan and rose to the challenge in time,” said CdSL head coach Boni Garcia.
Charles Callano fired a team-high 21 points on an efficient 8-of-11 shooting clip while Soulemane Chabi Yo pumped in a double-double of 20 points and 14 rebounds for the Griffins.
PBA aspirant Gabriel chipped in 16 points while Formento added 12 markers in 17 minutes of action off the bench.
Judel Fuentes and Wamar led the Scorpions with 26 and 25 points, respectively, but did not get enough contribution from their teammates, putting their title repeat bid in danger.
Meanwhile, Olivarez College seized the third place at the expense of Diliman College, 60-57.
Paulo Castro poured four of his 10 points in a decisive 11-4 run as the Sea Lions salvaged a podium finish after falling short against the Griffins in the semifinals.
“My players showed that they really wanted to go out with a bang. We may not have reached our desired destination but we’ll take this one,” said Olivarez mentor Mike Saguiguit.
Adama Diakhite paced the Blue Dragons with 18 points, 23 rebounds and six blocks while Rickson Gerero had 17 markers in the loss.
JEREMIAH M. SEVILLA