The Olivarez College (OC) Sea Lions stunned second seed Technological Institute of the Philippines (TIP) Engineers, 70-53, to force a rubber match in the Universities and Colleges Basketball League (UCBL) semifinals at the OC Coliseum in Parañaque City on Thursday.
Albert Rabe top scored for Olivarez with a double-double outing of 16 points and 11 rebounds while Lawrence Uduba and Pruvil Bermudez combined for 23 markers and 11 boards.
“They really worked for it. We finally found our rotation. There was a good transition defensively because full court defense is only our advantage against them. We’ve had a good rotation and we fixed our transition so we had that outcome. They really wanted to win for the Olivarian community,” said Olivarez head coach Myk Saguiguit.
Jayboy Solis opened the third period with a three-pointer for Olivarez, 38-26. TIP’s Paul Rosopa answered back with another trey in the 8:34 minute mark, 38-29.
The TIP Engineers ignited a 4-0 run with Rosopa hitting a jumper and Jorey Napoles sinking both his free throws off Lordy Geronimo’s foul with 7:22 minutes remaining in the period to cut Olivarez’s lead to seven, 40-33.
Richard Singh and Bermudez drained back-to-back three pointers for Olivarez midway through the quarter, 48-33.
Capitalizing on Olivarez’s penalty, Harley Diego banked on his free throws with Singh drawing the fifth foul in the 2:35 minute mark, 53-37. Ikee Akpuru completed his three-point play with 31.3 seconds left, 57-43. Bermudez sank a floater in the dying seconds of the quarter, 59-43.
The Sea Lions did not look back as they completed a 9-0 blitz behind Geronimo, Rabe, Singh and Uduba jumper with 2:29 minutes left in the match, 70-45.
John Enriquez drove to the basket and sank his bonus free throw with 29.1 seconds left in the match, 70-50. Bryan Santos closed the match after banking a three-pointer for TIP, 70-53.
Santos paced TIP with nine points and eight rebounds.
In the first half, the Olivarez Sea Lions limited the TIP Engineers to only 10 baskets out of 33 attempts, while shooting 15 baskets out of 39 attempts, 35-24.
The winner between Olivarez and TIP will advance to the finals against Centro Escolar University.
The Scorpions clinched the first finals ticket as they annihilated the Colegio de San Lorenzo Griffins, 99-57.