By Jerome Lagunzad
Diliman College guard Rickson Gerero nailed the go-ahead jumper with nine seconds left as the Blue Dragons outlasted Technological Institute of the Philippines, 78-76, to move up to solo third in Universities and Colleges Basketball League (UCBL) Season 2 yesterday at the Olivarez Collge gym in Sucat, Parañaque City.
Dominant Senegalese big man Adama Diakhite threw his weight around the paint with game-highs of 21 rebounds and three blocks on top of 18 points but it was Gerero who came up with the decisive bucket that helped the Blue Dragons hold off the Engineers.
The 5-foot-11 Gerero overcame a rough shooting performance as he drilled in just his fourth field goal out of 16 tries, helping the Blue Dragons avert a monumental meltdown after squandering a six-point lead in the final two minutes of regulation. “I’m happy with the win but I’m still not satisfied,” said Diliman College coach Rensy Bajar.
“Give credit to coach Potit (de Vera) and TIP. They gave us a tough fight. And I know this will serve us in good stead come the playoff round. I hope my players will put this great experience to good use,” he added.
The win improved Diliman’s record to 9-5 as they continue to fight for a Final Four spot.
Jorey Napoles finished with a game-high 19 points before fouling out late in regulation for the Engineers, who dropped their ninth match in 13 starts.
Earlier, Bulacan State University got back at Lyceum-Batangas, 109-101, to sustain its late resurgence.
Reigning league MVP Dominck Fajardo dished out an all-around performance of 30 points, 16 rebounds and seven assists but it was the backcourt duo of Paul Dela Cruz and Abraham Crisostomo who provided the offensive punch down the stretch that enabled the Gold Gears to foil the Pirates.
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