USC wins 2015 CESAFI championship, ends 57-year title drought
CEBU CITY, Philippines - The University of San Carlos (USC) Warriors ended a 57-year title drought with a 64-53 victory over the University of the Visayas (UV) Green Lancers in Game 5 of the 15th CESAFI men's tournament on Tuesday, October 20 before a jampacked New Cebu Coliseum.
The USC Warriors last won a Cebu title in 1958, when the scholastic league was known as the Cebu Collegiate Athletic Association. Current team consultant Julian Macoy, known as a living legend in Cebu basketball, was part of that team then. Macoy is known for scoring the most number of points in a single game twice as a member of the USC Green and Gold Warriors from 1955 to 1961.
"To be honest, I never had those thoughts because our goal was to win a championship and we did it as one team, one family," said USC head coach Britt Reroma, when asked if there was ever a time in Game 5 when he had thought they would lose it.
UV was leading all the way until the 8-minute mark of the final canto when import Shooster Olago was able to tie the game at 46-all after sinking both his freebies after UV import Steve Akomo picked up his fourth personal foul.
"This is sweet," said Reroma, who topped off his first season as a collegiate coach with a title victory. Prior to joining the senior’s team, Reroma led San Beda College to 3 junior titles and also coached the USC Baby Warriors.
As for the pressure of overcoming a 57-year title drought, Reroma said that the team instilled in their minds that "in life, there is already pressure, we just need to handle it."
"I also give it to Gary Cortes (UV head coach). They came really prepared. They took us to Game 5. They had the experience, we are just the hungrier team. That is why we had to defend well.
Asked about what comes next, Reroma said he would take a vacation first as he is set to proceed to the airport from the coliseum to catch a flight to the United States to attend his sister's wedding.
Olago of Cameroon, whose 18 points in the second half of the ballgame alone, carried the USC Warriors to the title, was named the Most Valuable Player of the Finals. He had a total of 26 points, 19 rebounds, two assists, two steals and one block.
He was also named to the Mythical Five as the center along with another Warrior - Charles Pepito - in the power forward position.
The rest of the players named into the Mythical Five are Southwestern University's Mark Jayven Tallo as point guard, University of San Jose Recoletos' Ralph Jude Dinolan at shooting guard and UV's Leonard Santillan as the small forward. – Rappler.com