Powerhouse CEU begins championship bid against San Lorenzo in UCBL

Three more teams debut on Monday with multi-titled Centro Escolar University out to flaunt its might in the inaugural season of the Universities and Colleges Basketball League at the Olivarez Coliseum in Sucat, Parañaque.

Led by Congolese center Rod Ebondo and former pro league draftee Samboy de Leon, the Scorpions collide with the Colegio de San Lorenzo Griffins at 2 p.m., hoping to gain an auspicious start.

With a good mix of veteran and promising players, the Scorpions have been installed heavy favorites after ruling NAASCU for several years before joining the new collegiate league that offers televised games to its members.

Yong Garcia, who inherited the coaching job from Egay Macaraya, however, shrugged off the favorite tag, saying they are still in the process of improving their chemistry collectively.

Other than that, the Boni Garcia-mentored Griffins boast a pair of local big men in 6-foot-9 Joshua Calizo and 6-foot-6 JonJon Gabriel.

But whether Calizo and Gabriel are good as advertised will be known when they go up against the 6-foot-6 Ebondo, who led the CafeFrance to the PBA Development League title last year.

Clashing at 12 noon are Diliman College and University of Batangas with the latter out to bounce back from a 69-54 loss to Technological Institute of the Philippines in the opener last Saturday.

The opening day was highlighted by Bulacan State University’s stunning 96-91 win over Olivarez College.