CEBU CITY, Philippines – The University of San Carlos (USC) Warriors and the University of the Visayas (UV) Green Lancers have set up a dream match showdown for the senior division's title of the 2015 CESAFI men's basketball tournament after dismissing their respective opponents during the end of the single round-robin semifinals Sunday, October 4 at the New Cebu Coliseum.
Both finalists had contrasting fate as USC Warriors had to work extra hard in stopping the University of San Jose Recoletos (USJR) Jaguars, 86-81, while the UV Green Lancers cruised to a 74-59 lambasting of the defending champion Southwestern University (SWU) Cobras.
Prior to the games in the seniors division semifinals, the UV Baby Lancers clinched third place in the juniors division against the USC Baby Warriors, 57-55, via the buzzer beater shot of Beirn Anthony Laurente.
The USC Warriors and the UV Green Lancers will begin their quest for the title on Sunday, October 11 while the USJR Jaguars and the SWU Cobras will begin their best of three series for third place Tuesday, October 6 to be followed by the first game of the juniors division finals between Sacred Heart School-Ateneo de Cebu (SHS-AdC) Magis Eagles and the University of Cebu (UC) Junior Webmasters.
UV Baby Lancers grab third place
The Baby Lancers finished second last season but were unable to enter the finals this year after losing to the UC Junior Webmasters in the semifinals.
With the game tied at 55-all and only 1:24 left, Jim Paul Amistoso attempted a trey but missed. The ball stayed in UV's possession and right on cue Laurente went for a layup and the ball left his hand just as the endgame buzzer sounded and swished through the net, sending the UV Baby Green Lancers jumping in jubilation.
The Baby Lancers signified their intention to salvage third place with a strong start by leading in the first half but the Baby Warriors not only caught up with them in the third quarter but also took the lead, 43-38, going into the final canto.
With back-to-back baskets from Jholo Pakanna and Ken Gato in the opening minutes of the fourth quarter, the Baby Warriors advantage ballooned to nine points, 47-38, before Marvin Rey Oche sank two triples and helped the Baby Lancers come close at 48-50 with 4:50 left in the ballgame.
From there, the game deadlocked 3 times and exchange leads several times before Laurente sealed the win for the UV Baby Lancers with his game winning shot.
Raul Jancork Cabahug became the best player for the last time this season after unleashing 25 points, one assist and one steal.
USC denies USJR
The USC Warriors made sure that they will be playing in the finals by working extra hard to squash the challenge put out by the USJR Jaguars.
The Warriors had their Cameroonian import Shooster Olago to thank for their win as he had a monster performance of 38 points, 21 rebounds and 4 assists which earned him the best player tag.
Charles Pepito also continues to be a big help for the Warriors with another double-double performance of 10 points and 10 rebounds.
The Jaguars was eager to draw blood by mounting a 4-point advantage at the end of the first quarter but the Warriors managed to tie the game at 28-all on a triple play by Olago with 5:15 left before the halftime break.
The Warriors was able to eventually end the first half in their favor, 38-34, on back-to-back baskets from Nicolas Kyle Magat and Olago after 3 more deadlocks.
The Jaguars continued to be relentless and managed to once again tie the game at 61-all going into the final canto anchored on the four triples from Jaybie Mantilla.
As the heat built up in the final quarter, the game became very physical with USC's Ian Jefferson Tagapan called for an unsportsmanlike behavior for hitting Mantilla. A couple of minutes later, it was Ralph Jude Dinolan's turn to become a victim of a hard foul and Ricky Dyn Peromingan who was hit by Giovanni Laguyo.
But Olago came up big in the final stretch to secure the Warriors the finals berth.
UV defeats SWU for the third time
In contrast, the UV Green Lancers did not have to sweat it out as they defeated the SWU Cobras for the third time this season.
Arvie Cabanero was named best player of the ballgame with his 12 points, 6 rebounds and 1 block.
Another Green Lancer who was having a field day was Francisco Arong who topscored with 16 points with 9 points coming from 3 straight shots taken from beyond the arc in the final canto.
The Cobras had taken the upperhand at the end of the first quarter, 18-14, but after that was no longer able to contain the Green Lancers as the latter surged ahead to as much as a 21-point lead, 53-32, at the end of the third quarter.
The only thing that they were able to do was to cut down on their deficit which they managed to do at the end of the ballgame.
Game schedule: Tuesday, October 6 at New Cebu Coliseum
5:15 PM – SHS-AdC vs UC (Game 1 Best of 3 Juniors Championships)
6:45 PM – SWU vs USJ-R (Game 1 Best of 3 Seniors 3rd Place)
Juniors Battle for Third:
UV (57) – Cabahug 25, Balazuela 7, Oche 6, Ra. Alforque 3, Laurente 3, Padilla 3, Yerro 3, Ro. Alforque 2 , Maglasang 0, Membrano 0.
USC (55) – Gato 9, Bande 6, Mendez 7, Mendoza 6, Pakanna 5, Damolo 4, Mangaron 4, Chavez 3, Fontanosa 3, Canieso 2, Laurente 2, Octaviano 2, Ranuco 2.
Quarterscores: 16-10; 32-23; 43-38; 57-55.
USC (86) – Olago 38, Magat 11, Pepito 10, McAloney 9, Ortega 9, Tagapan 6, Suarez 2, Maconocido 1.
USJR (81) – Villafranca 26, Mantilla 23, Dinolan 15, Gastador 8, Labares 4, Peromingan 4, Navarra 2.
Quarter scores: 16-19; 38-34; 61-61; 86-81.
UV (74) – Arong 16, Codilla 15, Cabanero 12, Santillan 10, Suerte 5, Manzo 4, Akomo 3, Balabag 3, Veloso 3, Macion 2, Mendoza 2.
SWU (59) – Racho 13, Auditor 10, Bautista 8, Tallo 8, Luz 7, Gonzaga 6, Clam 4, Holper 3.
Quarter scores: 14-18; 32-23; 53-32; 74-59. – Rappler.com