CEBU CITY, Philippines – Froiland Maglasang's buzzer beater taken from the middle of the court sent the University of the Visayas (UV) Baby Lancers to the finals of the high school contest of the Cebu Schools Athletic Foundation, Incorporated (CESAFI) basketball tournament on Sunday, September 17, at the New Cebu Coliseum.
With 1.6 seconds remaining and the University of Cebu (UC) Junior Webmasters leading by two points, 73-71, Maglasang got the ball from Roosevelt Jelianggao and from halfway decided to pull up for a jumper instead of passing the ball to his teammates under the goal.
The shooting guard was rewarded when the ball just swished past the net, giving the Baby Lancers a 1-point win at 74-73 over the Junior Webmasters and an automatic ticket to the championship, owing to their 9-0 win-loss record.
Under the new format implemented this season, a team which sweeps the elimination round will automatically enter the finals.
The second, third, and fourth ranked teams will then advance to the playoffs. The top 3 and top 4 teams will play in a knockout game, the winner of which will face the top 2 team, defending champion Sacred Heart School-Ateneo de Cebu (SHS-AdC) Magis Eagles, for the remaining finals ticket.
Aside from the Baby Lancers, the Magis Eagles also finished their elimination games earlier with a 70-49 mangling of the Cebu Eastern College (CEC) Dragons. They earned the top 2 spot with their 8-1 record after conceding one game to the Baby Lancers.
The Baby Lancers converged on the court and congratulated Maglasang, who had a total of 9 points in a game that featured 9 deadlocks, 5 of which happened in the final quarter.
Virlou Orquez actually had a chance to close the game in favor of the Junior Webmasters when he was fouled thrice and earned 6 charity baskets all within the remaining 20 seconds of the ballgame. However, he only managed to convert two.
With their streak and an automatic finals entry on the line, the Baby Lancers actually had a slow start as they only managed to take hold of the lead in the first few minutes of the ballgame.
They did manage to take back the lead in the third quarter, which they ended with a 7-point advantage, 53-46.
Two of the Baby Lancers' trusted scorers also fouled out in the final canto – Justin Jake Rosete with 7 minutes remaining and Joshua Yerro with 3 minutes left in the ballgame.
Beirn Anthony Laurente led the Baby Lancers with 20 points while Jhiey Paraldo chipped in 14 and Rosete contributed 10 before fouling out.
The loss gave the Junior Webmasters a 4-4 card while the Dragons slumped to a 3-5 slate. Both have one more remaining game to play.
In the college contest, the University of San Jose Recoletos (USJR) Jaguars solidified their hold of the third spot with a 74-69 edging of the University of San Carlos (USC) Warriors who were missing 4 of their big men in Kent Michael Cabañog, Malcolm Joe Tan, Leo Labiste, and Kenn Patjes Oguis.
All 4 are serving a one-game suspension for entering the court during a fracas in their game against the University of Southern Philippines Foundation (USPF) Panthers last September 11.
The remaining collegiate game had the Southwestern University (SWU) Phinma Cobras surviving the Cebu Institute of Technology University (CITU) Wildcats, 72-67, in a battle of the bottom dwellers.
First Game (High School)
UV Baby Lancers (74) – Laurente 20, Paraldo 14, Rosete 10, Maglasang 9, Yerro 7, Jelianggao 5, Omandac 5, Actub 2, Cometa 2.
UC Junior Webmasters (73) – Orquez 31, Enriquez 8, Jusay 8, Cuyos 6, Peligrino 6, Ordeniza 4, Mondares 3, Tago-on 3, Villasan 2.
Second Game (High School)
SHS-AdC Magis Eagles (70) – Colonia 16, Manaytay 15, Chua 9, Diaz 6, JB Yu 6, Tuadles 6, PW Yu 5, Quema 4, Javelosa 2, Fuentebella 1.
CEC Dragons (49) – Baruc 16, Tempra 14, Gaid 6, Tiu 6, Vallena 5, Galarse 1, Labalan 1.
Third Game (College)
USJR Jaguars (74) – Mantilla 19, Dinolan 17, Nuñez 11, Catiloc 7, Pacanuayan 6, Cabrera 4, Peromingan 4, Ubalde 4, Compra 2.
USC Warriors (69) – Saycon 26, Mangubat 12, Cadavis 8, Araw-Araw 6, Trangia 4, Ecarma 3, Oleodo 3, Rabat 3, Aranas 2, Marata 2.
Fourth Game (College)
SWU Phinma Cobras (72) – Imperial 29, Fernandez 9, Bayhonan 8, Racho 6, Roncal 6, Nazareno 4, Pardo 3, Polican 3, Bilao 2, Luz 2.
CITU Wildcats (67) – Sable 14, Munez 13, Kong 12, Bucao 7, Con-ui 6, King 5, Laguna 4, Mumar 4, Rosell 2.