CEBU CITY, Philippines – Defending champion Southwestern University (SWU) Cobras climb to the second spot in the seniors division after handing the comebacking University of Southern Philippines Foundation (USPF) Panthers their ninth loss in as many games, 81-73, Thursday, September 10, in the ongoing 15th Cebu Schools Athletic Foundation, Inc. (CESAFI) men’s basketball tournament at the University of San Carlos (USC) gym.
The Cobras, who have yet to drop a game in the second round of eliminations, now share the second spot with the University of the Visayas (UV) Green Lancers as they both tote a 7-2 win-loss record.
Jan Michael Auditor, named as the best player for the second time this season, led the Cobras with 22 points, four rebounds and one steal. Two-time Most Valuable Player Mark Jayven ‘Mac-Mac’ Tallo added 16 points for SWU’s third straight win.
Lyndon Colina, who kept the Panthers at just an arm’s length from the Cobras, topscored for USPF with 16 points.
Auditor was clearly raring to go as he opened the ballgame with five straight points to immediately give the Cobras a five-point lead with just a little more than a minute into the first quarter.
Auditor continued to find his mark to bring the Cobras’ lead to seven points, 13-6, halfway in the quarter.
Colina was sent in with just two minutes left going into the second canto and immediately sank a triple which he then followed with a jumper to cut the Cobras’ lead to just four points, 13-17, which they maintained at the end of the first quarter, 15-19, on the basket of Winston Bolivar.
Colina continued his good run in the second canto sinking seven points to bring the Panthers just a basket behind the Cobras, 24-26, with 6:40 on the clock.
Tallo then connected with a rainbow shot allowing the Cobras to pull away, however, Roy Quiachon answered with his own trey to keep the Panthers close at 27-29.
However, triple plays from Jesse Bautista and Mark Christopher Racho and treys from Auditor, Antonio Tomas Pardo and Jovanie Luz allowed the Cobras to seize a 14-point lead, 49-35, at the end of the first half.
There was no sign of the tension that erupted between Tallo and Luz in their September 5 game against the Cebu Institute of Technology-University Wildcats as the Cobras continued to distance themselves from the Panthers and maintaining their 14-point lead, 66-52, going into the final canto.
Hungry for a win, the Panthers managed to once again cut on the Cobras’ lead and bring it down to six points on a basket from Jawein Wisdom Ceniza at the 6:33 mark.
However, the Cobras showed what champions are made of by surging past and wedging 13 points in between twice before the last two-minute mark.
Five straight points from Karl Langahin allowed the Panthers just an eight point deficit at the sound of the buzzer.
The SWU Cobras and the UV Green Lancers could continue to share the second spot if they successfully get past their respective assignments this Sunday, September 13. If not, one of them will take solo second and the other will dropped to third place.
Game Schedule Sunday, September 13 @ New Cebu Coliseum
1 PM – USJR vs UV
Seniors Second Round of Elimination
2:30 PM – UV vs USPF
4 PM – CITU vs UC
5:30 PM – SWU vs USJR
SWU (81) – Auditor 22, Tallo 16, Pardo 16, Bautista 12, Racho 10, Luz 5, Gonzaga 0, Holper 0.
USPF (73) – Colina 16, Langahin 14, Ceniza 10, Quiachon 9, Bajamunde 7, Patalinghug 3, Villamor 3, Bolivar 2, Borces 2, Sastrillas 2, Avanceña 2, Laver 2, Alocillo 1, Cando 0.
Quarter scores: 19-15; 49-35; 66-52; 81-73. – Rappler.com
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