B-Dragons survive Scorpions, reach final.
Robbi Darang hit a tough jumper in the last seven seconds as top seed Diliman College snatched a 64-63 victory over a stunned Centro Escolar U side to claim the first finals berth in the PG Flex Linoleum-Universities and Colleges Basketball League at the Olivarez College gym in Sucat yesterday.
The top-seeded Blue Dragons also shackled the Scorpions with their pesky defense in the stretch, the last forcing CEU’s Maodo Diouf to issue an errant pass that preserved Darang’s late-game heroics, keeping the former on track for a first-ever back-to-back championship in the league.
The No. 4 Scorpions, who needed two victories to barge into the finals, appeared headed to moving closer to a dream championship stint as Eric Tuadles rifled in a triple to shove CEU to a lead at 63-62 with only 35 seconds left in the contest that was close throughout.
But after three flubbed Diliman College shots, including two from Abdoulaye Niang, and a turnover, the Blue Dragons went to their defense to force CEU to a turnover in the last 17 seconds, leading to that Darang’s game-winner.
The Blue Dragons will face the victor in the Olivarez College-University of Batangas duel, being played at presstime, for the crown set next week. As the No. 2 seed, the Olivarez Sea Lions need only a victory to arrange another title clash with the Blue Dragons.
A UB victory, however, will force a sudden death for the other finals berth on Nov. 4, also in Sucat. Matches are shown on a delayed basis on Solar Sports.
Kevine Gandjeto topscored for Diliman with 13 points while Billshan Digno fired 12 points in the first three quarters but was held scoreless in the last 10 minutes although Niang, who scored 10 points, and Jethro Sombrero took over to keep the Blue Dragons, handled by Rensy Bajar, in step with the Scorpions before Darang turned hot in the clutch.
Sombrero finished with 11 markers, including five straight spiked by a triple that put Diliman back on top at 58-56 heading to the last 3:55.
But the Scorpions, swept by the Blue Dragons in the double-round elims, kept on pressing their bid with Diouf hitting a jumper to tie it at 58 and Christian Malicana delivering a twinner to lift CEU to the lead again.
Earl Salazar, however, scored to force another deadlock and Niang came through with another hit before Tuadles buried that triple to put CEU on top again.