CdSL confident in PCCL campaign

  • Written by Ed Andaya
  • Published in Basketball
  • Read: 797
Colegio de San Lorenzo players are shown in photo with team manager Jimi Lim of V Hotel and coach Boni Garcia during their successful title campaign in the MBL. Colegio de San Lorenzo players are shown in photo with team manager Jimi Lim of V Hotel and coach Boni Garcia during their successful title campaign in the MBL.

BUOYED by its success in 2017, Colegio de San Lorenzo looks for a fitting follow-up when it takes part  in  the National Capital  Region  qualifying  phase of the Philippine Collegiate Champions League  (PCCL) scheduled Jan. 15-17  at the Jose Rizal University  gym along Shaw Blvd., Mandaluyong City.

The Griffins are coming off a banner year after winning the MBL Open basketball championship against multi-titled  FEU-NRMF last June and the UCBL crown against Centro  Escolar University last November, and coach Boni Garcia is confident the  players will continue  to work hard and play hard this year.

The Quezon City-based team also topped  the  inaugural   NCRUCLAA tournament last March.

“I  told the players that  2017 is  now over. This is  another year  and we have to continue to play well  as a team to achieve our goals,” added Garcia, who also piloted CdSL to four straight UCSAA titles.

Long-time CdSL superstar Jon Gabriel is now with Kia Picanto in the PBA, but Garcia can still count on MBL MVP Soulemane Chabi Yo,  Jan Formento, Charles Callano  and James Alvarado to deliver the big numbers for the Griffins.
(The 24-year-old  Gabriel signed a two-year deal  with Kia Picanto  after  being  drafted No 11 overall by Talk N Text).         
Garcia  will also parade  a 6-8 find from Congo, Francis Batouzelele, to  help man the middle with Chabi Yo.
In the PCCL,  CdSL is bracketed in Group A  along with  three-time NAASCU champion  St. Clare College-Caloocan  and NCAA  heavyweight  Jose Rizal University.
In  Group B are Far  Eastern University, San  Sebastian College and PATTS.     
Based on tournament format, the  top team in Group A and Group B will dispute the championship  in a one-game final  on Jan. 18.
CdSL will  open its campaign against JRU  at 3 p.m. on Jan. 15 and then play fellow NAASCU member  St. Clare College at 3 p.m. on Jan. 16.

The complete  PCCL schedule:
Jan . 15 at JRU gym --   1 p.m. San Sebastian vs. PATTS; and  3 p.m.  JRU vs CdSL.
Jan. 16  at JRU gym -- 1 p.m. PATTS vs. FEU; 3 p.m. CdSL vs. St. Clare.
Jan. 17 at JRU gym  -- 1 p.m. FEU vs. San Sebastian; 3 p.m. St. Clare vs. JRU.     

Last June 26,  the V Hotel-supported CdSL brought down FEU-NRMF,   87-85, in a winner-take-all final to capture the MBL Open crown  before a  big crowd  at  the FEU gym in Fairview.
Chabi Yo,  the 6-6 import from Benin,  finished with  28 points against the defense of FEU imports Moustapha Arafat and Kareem Abdul to power the Griffins to the title in their first MBL appearance.
Formento ably supported Chabi Yo with 19 points, including four triples, as  CdSL-V Hotel finished the  tournament with  a 9-1 win-loss record.    
CdSL  also completed a two-game sweep of the UCBL finals with a 71-65 win over  the Centro Escolar University Scorpions at the Olivarez Sports Center in Parañaque City last Nov. 27.
Formento finished with 23 points spiked by five triples while Callano added 19  points, including a critical lay-up off a counter steal against CEU counterpart Judel Fuentes in the closing seconds to pull the rug from under the Scorpions.      
Earlier last year, CdSL  defeated De Ocampo Memorial College, 98-82, in the deciding Game 3  and made history by becoming the  first-ever NCRUCLAA champion.
Gabriel, who was voted as MVP,  scored 10 of his game-high 34 points in the third quarter to lead the Griffins to a 2-1 series win over the Cobras.
CdSL  also defeated  De Ocampo,  89-78, to forge a deciding third game.