Umali lifts Olivarez past PCU, sets up semis clash vs Diliman

John Umali of Olivarez College

John Umali nailed big shots down the stretch as Olivarez College survived Philippine Christian University, 78-71, in their do-or-die stepladder semifinal match in the 5th PG Flex Linoleum-Universities and Colleges Basketball League (UCBL) Thursday at the Paco Arena in Manila.

Umali spearheaded the back-breaking 10-0 run inside the final five minutes of the contest as the Sea Lions shook off a hard-fighting Dolphins side to set up a huge collision with second seed and twice-to-beat Diliman College Blue Dragons in the second part of the stepladder semis.

The Sea Lions forward finished with 17 points, built on four triples – none bigger than the last two which he drilled in the waning minutes to give Olivarez the much-needed breathing room .

Up only by two, 68-66, Umali drained a left wing triple that stretched the lead to five with 3:41 left in the clock before knocking down another one from the other side a few minutes later to slam the door on the Dolphins who managed to come back from a 13-point deficit early on.

Free throws from Umali and Vincent Rocero then capped the run to take a 78-66 lead which proved to be enough to cushion a late fightback from PCU.

Edmund Dela Cruz was also all over the floor for Olivarez scattering 17 points, 18 rebounds and seven assists while John Laurence Uduba added a double-double of 11 points and 13 rebounds.

Tita Toscannie and Joshua Dino paced PCU with 14 points apiece.

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