CEBU CITY, Philippines - The Southwestern University (SWU)-Phinma Cobras displayed cold composure as they went on a 19-0 run in the final quarter to swing the game into their favor and frustrate the defending champion University of San Carlos (USC) Warriors, 68-65, in the start of the semifinal round of the CESAFI collegiate division, Saturday, October 8 at the New Cebu Coliseum.
In the second game, the University of the Visayas (UV) Green Lancers bested the University of San Jose Recoletos (USJ-R) Jaguars, 75-68.
One of the tightly contested game this season saw the SWU-Phinma display confidence even when they were down by as many as 19 points and keep their win-loss slate clean at 13-0.
Two-time Most Valuable Player Mark Jayven Tallo recovered from a sluggish start to score 11 of his 24 points in the last quarter to spark a rally from his teammates. He also finished with 7 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 steals.
Leading scorer for USC was Bryan Divinagracia with 15 points, two rebounds and one steal.
Rey Anthony Suerte topscored for UV with 17 points, 5 rebounds, one assist and 4 steals.
Ralph Jude “RJ” Dinolan and Nelvin Navarra both led USJ-R with 19 points. Dinolan also pulled down 9 boards and managed 3 steals. Navarra, for his part, had 8 rebounds, one steal and two blocks.
The Cobras were off to a rusty start as after a 4-0 lead early in the first quarter, they then lagged behind by 15 points at the end of the first quarter, 6-21.
As the Cobras continued to miss their shots, the Warriors increased the pressure and eventually extended their lead to 16 points, 38-22, at the halftime break.
The third canto continued to be a USC Warriors show as they maintained their 16-point lead going into the final canto.
However, Kevin Oleodo’s opening trey in the fourth quarter was USC’s last hurrah as the Cobras then methodically started their rally sparked by Tallo. The Cobras eventually tied the game at 62-all on one of Tallo’s converted gift shots with 1:18 remaining in the ballgame.
A trey from William Rosebelt Polican then gave the Cobras the lead for the first time since the early minutes of the first quarter, 65-62.
Oleodo then converted one of his charities to allow USC to come closer at 2 points, 63-65. However, in the return play, Tallo passed the ball to a wide open Jovanie Luz in the wings who immediately pulled up for a trey to bring SWU-Phinma’s advantage to 5 points at 68-63.
Ian Jefferson Tagapan added 2 points for USC but the game was eventually theirs to lose.
October 9 schedule
4 pm - USC vs USJ-R
5:30 pm - SWU vs UV
SWU-Phinma Cobras (68) - Tallo 24, Luz 14, Ortega 12, Bravo 6, Nzuzi 5, Polican 4, Bregondo 2, Imperial 2.
USC Warriors (65) - Divinagracia 15, Oleodo 12, Ntumba 9, Munez 7, Rabat 6, Catapusan 5, Tagapan 4, Ecarma 2, Tan 2.
UV Green Lancers (75) - Suerte 17, Codilla 14, Soliva 12, Albina 9, Sackor 9, Segumpan 6, Balabag 4, Gahi 2.
USJ-R Jaguars (68) - Dinolan 19, Navarra 19, Catiloc 7, Peromingan 7, Mantilla 6, Sealana 4, Nunez 3, Gastador 2, Jopia 1. – Rappler.com