TOP seed Diliman College achieved another first in the Universities and Colleges Basketball League (UCBL) Season 3.
Led by John Mahari, Robbi Darang and import Kevin Gandjeto, Diliman outsteadied Technological Institute of the Philippines, 77-68, yesterday to clinch the first finals berth at the Olivarez College gym in Parañaque City.
Mahari finished with 21 points and eight rebounds in 33 minutes of action for the Blue Dragons, who clinched their first-ever finals appearance in the tournament.
Darang added a double-double effort of 14 points and 11 assists while Gandjeto produced his usual twin numbers of 15 points and 12 rebounds for the Blue Dragons of former Sen. Nikki Coseteng and multi-titled coach Rensy Bajar.
“We finally made it to the finals. It was a tough win but good thing we made our shots early and we defended well at the height of their rally,” said Bajar, who steered the Quezon City-based team to its 10 th straight win and a twice-to-beat advantage over TIP in the crossover semis.
“Hopefully, we can go all the way and win another title for Diliman,” added Bajar, who again credited Sen. Coseteng and the Diliman College community, as well as team sponsors Jerome Ngo and Wilson Sia of Gerry’s Grill for the team’s meteoric rise in collegiate basketball.
“As I have been saying, the players and the coaching staff draw inspiration from the continued support of Sen. Coseteng and the Diliman College community and our friends from Gerry’s Grill,” stressed Bajar,also the first assistant coach of PBA legend Pido Jarencio in the NorthPort Batang Pier in the PBA.
Diliman, however, will have to wait for its finals opponent.
Olivarez College edged Centro Escolar University, 68-67, to force a playoff for the second finals berth on Thursday.
The winner of the Olivarez-CEU match will earn the right to meet Diliman in a best-of-three title showdown starting Monday.
Actually, Diliman and CEU gained twice-to-beat advantages for finishing 1-2 in the double-round eliminations.