UV Green Lancers win CESAFI title with Game 4 victory over USC
CEBU CITY, Philippines (UPDATED) - The University of the Visayas (UV) Green Lancers are once again champions of the CESAFI collegiate basketball tournament after clinching their 11th title with a Game 4 victory over the defending champion University of San Carlos (USC) Warriors, 66-53, on Saturday, October 22 at the New Cebu Coliseum.
The last time that UV won the collegiate title was in 2013 when they defeated the Southwestern University (SWU) Cobras. UV held the title for 9 straight years from 2001 to 2009. They then bagged their 10th title in 2013. In the history of the league, UV has only failed to make it to the finals twice— in 2011 and 2014.
USC, which last year ended a 57-year championship drought, avoided a sweep with a win in Game 3 on Thursday.
UV's Rey Anthony Suerte bagged the coveted Finals MVP laurel.
Joining him in the Mythical 5 is teammate Jan Monic Soliva who contributed greatly to UV ending the series early. Although he only managed 9 points, he pulled down 15 boards.
Completing the elite 5 for this season are Jaybie Mantilla of the University of San Jose Recoletos (USJ-R) Jaguars, Mark Jayven “MacMac” Tallo of the Southwestern University (SWU)-Phinma Cobras and USC rookie Conrad Catapusan.
This is the first time that the series ended in Game 4 since 2010.
UV head coach Gary Cortes said that he feels blessed to have won a CESAFI title in just his second year of coaching.
“Blessed kay gihatag dayon sa Ginoo sa ako ni nga title, hasta sad ang first runner-up title last year. I am proud of it. (I am blessed that the Lord gave this title to me immediately, also the first runner-up last year.)
Cortez said that he was positive that they would win the title in Game 4. He added that they were the underdog this time around. “It is a sweet revenge.”
He also shrugged off allegations that they rigged the finals because he believed that USC was a worthy opponent, “We lost the third game so they were fighting for it.”
USC looked to extend the Finals series and force a rubber match when they kept pace with the long time champions and tied the game at 18-all in the first canto with a clutch trey from Lucky Ecarma. They then took a slim 2-point lead at halftime, 31-29.
Asked what he told his boys at halftime after UV seemed unable to build a considerable lead against USC, Cortez said that he told them “If you want to win this, you must work hard.”
The Green Lancers listened as the second half saw UV slowly pulling away to a 7-point lead, 50-43, after the game deadlocked four times in the third quarter alone.
UV sealed their intention of clinching their 11th title in Game 4 when they slowly padded their advantage against USC. Their highest lead was 13 points, 66-53, which resulted to the final score.
UV Green Lancers (66) - Suerte 14, Codilla 11, Segumpan 11, Soliva 7, Balabag 6, Gahi 6, Sackor 4, Napao 2.
USC Warriors (53) - Tagapan 11, Ntumba 9, Oleodo 9, Laguyo 7, Divinagracia 6, Catapusan 5, Ecarma 3, Munez 3, Adlawan 2. – Rappler.com