CEBU CITY, Philippines – The University of the Visayas (UV) Green Lancers ended the first round of eliminations in second place after managing to surge past the defending champions, Southwestern University (SWU) Cobras, 57-48, August 27, Thursday in the ongoing 15th Cebu Schools Athletic Foundation, Inc. (CESAFI) men’s basketball competition held at the Cebu Coliseum.
The Green Lancers, a 10-time champion in this tournament, finished with a record of 5 wins and 1 loss which they suffered against the University of San Carlos (USC) Warriors, the current league leader.
In the juniors division, the University of San Jose Recoletos (USJR) Baby Jaguars mustered enough energy to hold off the Cebu Eastern College (CEC), 59-55, to improve its win-loss record to 3-2.
Despite a sluggish performance from both the Green Lancers and the Cobras, the ballgame still proved to be exciting, keeping the spectators on the edge of their seats as they deadlocked six times with the lead swinging both ways several times.
UV import Steve Cedrick Akomo had a huge contribution with his 15 points, 17 rebounds and two blocks but it was Jun Kent Manzo III who earned the best player title as he not only scored 10 points but he also had 2 rebounds, 2 assists and 3 steals.
Although he scored 8 of his 10 points in the second half, it was Manzo’s basket that brought the Green Lancers close at just a point behind the Cobras, 11-12, with a little less than two minutes in the first quarter.
A layup from Jesse Bautista may have given the lead back to the Warriors but a trey from Rey Anthony Suerte and a basket from Alwin Aguirre allowed the Green Lancers a 2-point advantage at the end of the first quarter, 16-14.
Back-to-back baskets from Jayson Balabag put the Green Lancers further ahead at the start of the second canto, 20-16, but the Cobras remained undaunted and even managed to swing the momentum to their side anchored on the two rainbow shots of Melvin Holper.
After tying the game for the fourth time at 20-all, the Cobras took a one-point lead as Holper sank the first of his treys with a little more than four minutes before the halftime break.
Reigning most valuable player Mark Jayven Tallo then scored his first basket to give the Cobras a five-point advantage, 27-22. Another triple from Holper and a basket from Mark Christopher Racho allowed the Cobras an 8-point lead going into the halftime break.
Manzo started his scoring spree when he broke for a fastbreak after receiving a pass from Francisco Arong who managed to steal the ball 3 minutes into the second half.
The Green Lancers held the Cobras to just 3 baskets to end the third quarter in their favor with a 7-point margin, 45-38.
In the final canto, the Cobras came close at five points, 42-47, on a trey from Tallo and with Bautista splitting his charities but a Manzo layup and a reverse layup from Arvie Cabanero once again brought the Green Lancers out of reach.
Trailing the Green Lancers by as much as 10 points, 42-52, the Cobras found relief in Jan Michael Auditor who immediately scored four straight points as soon as he got off the bench.
However, he was then called for an unsportsmanlike foul which gifted Akomo with two baskets and ball possession for the Green Lancers.
The Cobras dropped to third place with a 3-2 card with one game remaining in the first round.
In the junior contest, it was the CEC Dragons who had waxed hot at the start of the first quarter as they went on a blistering 11-0 run on the baskets of Garnird Leopoldo, who hit 3 3-pointers, and Glent Anfernee Roa.
The Baby Jaguars had a taste of its first point when Joshua Renz Ortiz converted one of his free throws with 3 minutes remaining in the first quarter.
John Kirck Gonzaga, who was named best player, and Geo Ibero then helped in keeping the Baby Jaguars from getting shutout, managing to allow the Dragons just a nine-point lead, 8-17, going into the second quarter.
The second quarter saw a spirited comeback for the Baby Jaguars who managed to wrestle the lead with a one-point advantage, 30-29, at the end of the first half.
With only three minutes remaining in the ballgame, the Dragons managed to come close at 55-56 on the back-to-back baskets of Roa and John Vincent Galarse but Yannick Noah Enriquez came to the Baby Jaguars rescue as he steadily went for a layup amidst a scramble below the net and even draw a foul from Johanne Miguel Orillaneda.
He then sank one basket and Ortiz sealed the win for the Baby Jaguars.
The Dragons wallows at the bottom half of the ladder as it totes a 1-4 record alongside Cebu Institute of Technology-University (CIT-U) Wildkittens.
They have a chance to improve their standings as they face the University of Cebu (UC) Junior Webmasters on August 29, Saturday at 1 pm at the same venue.
Other games are:
2:30 PM – UV vs USPF (Juniors)
4 PM – CIT-U vs USC (Juniors)
5:30 PM USJR vs USPF (Seniors)
First Game: (JUNIORS)
USJ-R (59) – Gonzaga 17, Enriquez 12, Ortiz 12, Ibero 6, Ando 5, Teleron 4, Dela Cruz 3, Camacho 0.
CEC (55) – Galarse 13, Tempra 11, Leopoldo 11, A. Roa 8, Astillero 4, Orillaneda 2, Tecson 2, M. Casio 2, Tiu 2, Canoy 0, Guillemer 0.
Quarter scores: 8-17; 30-29; 48-41; 59-55.
Second Game: (SENIORS)
UV (57) – Akomo 15, Manzo 10, Suerte 8, Codilla 7, Balabag 6, Cabañero 5, Santillan 2, Aguirre 2, Napao 1, Veloso 1, Arong 0, Macion 0, Mendoza 0, Segumpan 0.
SWU (48) – Pardo 8, Auditor 8, Tallo 7, Luz 6, Racho 6, Holper 6, Bautista 5, Gonzaga 2, Clam 0.
Quarter scores: 16-14; 24-32; 45-38; 57-48.
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