Scorpions-Sea Lions duel fires off UCBL season

MANILA, Philippines — Centro-Escolar University gets the top billing and hopes to live up to the hype when it kicks off its campaign in the Universities and Colleges Basketball League against Olivarez College on Thursday at the Olivarez Gym in Parañaque City.

With a new coach in Derrick Pumaren and with last year’s champion Colegio de San Lorenzo opting to take an indefinite leave of absence, focus is on the Scorpions, who bowed to the CDSL side in the title playoff last season.

“We hope to live up to expectations,” said Pumaren in yesterday’s league launch at the H2O restaurant in Manila.

The CEU Scorpions-Olivarez Sea Lions showdown is set at 1 p.m. while Lyceum of the Philippines University-Batangas tests newcomer Philippine Christian U-Dasmariñas at 3 p.m.

A simple parade of colors, which will also be participated in by other members Technological Institute of the Philippines and Diliman College, will usher in hostilities at 12 noon.

The other provincial college team vying in the event backed by CafeFrance, Yakult, Gerry’s Grill, Hapee Toothpaste, MaxSell Power Tool and Tough Mama Home and Kitchen Appliances, Tanduay Athletics and Toyota Motor Phls. is St. Joseph College of Sta. Maria, Bulacan.

“This league will showcase the basketball programs of the member schools to the basketball-hungry public,” said UCBL president Franklin Evidente.

Games, set every Monday and Thursday, will be aired on ESPN5 and AksyonTV.

“ESPN5 and AksyonTV want to help the school and the league to grow,” said Patricia Bermudez-Hizon, TV5’s head of sports.

The tournament will have a double-round elimination round with the top four teams advancing to the semifinals. The top two semis squads will have twice-to-beat advantages.

Winners will dispute the crown in a best-of-three affair.