Olivarez edges Diliman, forces sudden death in PG Flex-UCBL

Published January 23, 2023, 5:38 PM

by Manila Bulletin Sports

Olivarez College showed unwavering resolve and stunned twice-to-beat Diliman College, 70-65, to drag their semis series to a sudden death in the 5th PG Flex Linoleum-Universities and Colleges Basketball League (UCBL) Monday at the Paco Arena in Manila.

Edmund Dela Cruz steers Olivarez College with 24 points and 20 rebounds to force a rubber match against Diliman in the semifinals. (Tournament Images)

After a tight contest in the first three periods, the Sea Lions stepped their foot on the gas pedal in the fourth quarter and unleashed a 12-3 salvo that proved to be the dagger to the fighting hearts of the Blue Dragons.

Diliman came into game armed with a twice-to-beat advantage for finishing second behind Centro Escolar University.

The winner in the sudden-death on Thursday will face CEU in a best-of-three title series.

Edmund Dela Cruz threw his weight around inside the paint to lead Olivarez with solid numbers of 24 points and 20 rebounds while John Laurence Uduba provided ample support with his 17 points including some timely hits down the stretch to repel a desperate Diliman rally.

Tied 50-all, Dela Cruz and Uduba scored back-to-back floaters to answer the triple from John Pedrosa in the early goings of the payoff period, triggering the telling run. Uduba and Mark Gallano then buried back-to-back triples of their own before Dela Cruz capped the blazing run with a layup to establish a 62-53 lead with 7:06 remaining in the contest.

The Blue Dragons tried to light the fire on a late fightback behind baskets from Robi Darang and Carmel Espinosa but Uduba came through with a layup and two-free throws which slammed the door on the Dragons’ comeback hopes.

Pedrosa finished with 22 points in a losing effort for Diliman which failed to close out the series in just one game.

 
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