CESAFI: UV survives USC, forces winner-take-all fifth game
CEBU CITY, Philippines - The University of Visayas (UV) Green Lancers remained in contention for the seniors division title of the 15th CESAFI men's basketball tournament, defeating the University of San Carlos (USC) Warriors in Game 4, 60-52, at the New Cebu Coliseum on Saturday, October 17 to force a winner-take-all Game 5.
This will be the fifth straight season that the CESAFI seniors title is decided by a fifth game.
For the first time this season, UV import Steve Akomo upstaged his fellow Cameroonian Shooster Olago, USC's import, to earn best player of the ballgame recognition with his double-double of 13 points, 13 rebounds, two assists and one block.
The UV Green Lancers was able to neutralize Olago and forced him into foul trouble as he picked up his fourth personal foul with 8:32 left in the final quarter. Olago finished with a career low of 7 points, but managed to pull down 14 boards and managed 3 steals.
Francisco Arong also stepped up big for the UV Green Lancers by chipping in 11 points. Also for the first time since his return, former Batang Gilas player Leonard Santillan of UV as he finished in double figures with his 10 points. Santillan missed Games 1 and 2 after he sprained his ankle during practice.
In contrast, only Charles Pepito delivered consistently for USC as he finished with 11 points.
Victor Manuel Rabat of USC seemed to have also found his game as he also scored 11 points.
Game 5 will be played on Tuesday, October 20 at 6 pm. The USC Warriors are hoping to end their 57-year title drought while the Green Lancers are aiming for their 11th title.
The Green Lancers was buoyed by the presence of the children, residents of Children's Resource Center Pari-an Drop-in Center, whom they have visited as part of their social responsibility campaign. According to UV assistant and scouting coach Van Halen P. Parmis, during their visit to the Drop-in Center last month, the children had asked to watch their game. They were accompanied by their Danish and Japanese chaperones.
“They promised to come back next Tuesday because they say they are lucky,” Parmis said.
Aside from drawing inspiration from the children, the Green Lancers also received encouraging words during the halftime break from Gomer “Enan” Sabio - who sponsors the team’s out-of-town games - who came all the way from Tagoloan, Misamis Oriental in Mindanao just to watch them play in the championship.
Sabio also promised a P10,000 cash bonus should the team win Game 4. And, a visit to the Dahilayan Forest Park in Bukidnon should they win the title. Sabio also promised to help the 3 institutions that the UV Green Lancers have visited. Aside from the Children's Resource Center Pari-an Drop-in Center, they have also visited the House of Hope, a drug rehabilitation center, and the Missionaries of Charity Gasa Sa Gugma, a home for the dying destitutes.
The Green Lancers trailed the Warriors by 4 points, 11-15, at the end of the first quarter and as Rabat continued to lead USC along with Nicolas Kyle Magat, UV saw their deficit increase to 8 points, 22-30, going into the halftime break.
However, the Green Lancers came back fired up opening the second half with an 8-0 run to tie the game at 30-all with 8:11 left in the third quarter.
Arong then sank a trey to give UV a 3-point lead, 33-30. But despite a spirited run, USC was still able to wrestle back the lead and pull away to a 3-point advantage, 44-41, going into the fourth quarter behind the back-to-back baskets of Pepito.
However, it was Santillan's turn to explode in the final canto. He combined with Alfred Codilla and Akomo to keep UV ahead until the final buzzer.
UV (60) - Akomo 13, Arong 11, Santillan 10, Cabanero 9, Manzo 7, Codilla 5, Mendoza 3, Segumpan 2.
USC (52) - Pepito 11, Rabat 11, Olago 7, Lim 5, Magat 5, Laguyo 4, Suarez 3, McAloney 2, Ortega 2, Tagapan 2.
Quarter scores: 11-15; 22-30; 41-44; 60-52. – Rappler.com