CEBU CITY, Philippines (UPDATED) - The University of the Visayas (UV) Baby Lancers are the 2017 CESAFI Basketball Junior champions after sweeping their best-of-3 title series against the defending champions Sacred Heart School-Ateneo de Cebu (SHS-AdC) Magis Eagles, Thursday, October 12, at the New Cebu Coliseum.
The Baby Lancers denied the Magis Eagles what would have been their fourth straight title (fifth overall) in the league by winning Game 2, 72-67.
Head coach Delfin Pepito and assistant coach Gerard Ylaya said that they were confident of winning the title this year because of the determination that the Baby Lancers have shown but they did not expect to sweep the finals series.
"Ga expect jud ko na mudaog sila tungod sa disiplina sa mga bata ba, duna jud sila gusto na mudaug sila," said Pepito.
(I was really expecting that they would win because of the discipline that the boys have shown, they really had the desire to win.)
This is the UV Baby Lancers' seventh title in the league. The last time they held it was in 2011.
Hailed as the Most Valuable Player was UV Baby Lancers point guard Beirn Anthony Laurente who has been consistently topscoring for the team.
Joining him in the Mythical 5 are Magis Eagles power forward Christian Manaytay and shooting guard Patrick Wilson Yu, University of Cebu Junior Webmasters shooting forward Virlou Orquez and University of San Jose Recoletos Baby Jaguars center Dave Ando.
The UV Baby Lancers had a stellar season this year after bagging an automatic entry into the championship series when they swept their 9 elimination games.
The last time they made it to the finals was in 2014 when they lost to the Magis Eagles.
That was also the last time they were helmed by Pepito when he took on a consultant role for the team before returning this season to once again become the head coach of the UV Baby Lancers.
"Lipay jud kaayo ko nga nachampion ang mga bata," said Pepito.
(I am so happy that the boys have become champions.)
The Baby Lancers have finally avenged themselves against the Magis Eagles who have constantly tormented them in the past years.
Not only did they deny the Magis Eagles their fifth title but they were also the ones who inflicted the Magis Eagles with their 3 defeats this season.
Assisting Pepito and Ylaya were UV Green Lancers head coach Gary Cortes and his assistant Jonnel Maglasang.Froiland Maglasang, whose buzzer beater from the halfcourt against the UC Junior webmasters in their last elimination game ushered the Baby Lancers an automatic entry into the finals, topscored with 15 points.
Justin Jake Rosete made the difference between Game 1 and 2 by managing to score 14 points and to pull 7 boards despite once again fouling out in the final quarter. He was stifled in Game 1 managing only 5 points after struggling to keep his cool with the referees seemingly ganging up on him.
Laurente completed the top 3 scorers with his 11 points.
Roosevelt Jelianggao also made life hard for the Magis Eagles under the goal with his 11 rebounds despite only scoring 5 points.
The Magis Eagles were towed by Alex Roeland Visser who ended his CESAFI campaign with a double-double performance of 14 points and 11 rebounds. Franz Ray Diaz and Patrick Wilson Yu also contributed much by chipping in 13 points each.
Both teams started hot with the first quarter deadlocking 3 times before the Magis Eagles were able to pull away with 5 points, 15-10, going into the second quarter.
The game tied once more in the second quarter before the Baby Lancers took the upperhand on Maglasang's trey. Jearolan Omandac then further widened the gap with a 3-point play to allow the Baby Lancers a 4-point lead, 29-25, at the halftime break.
The Baby Lancers then protected their lead with Rosete, Laurente and Omandac combining to bring their advantage to 13 points, 38-25, early in the third quarter.
The Magis Eagles managed to come close at 4 points, 44-48, on a basket from Visser but Rosete fired from beyond the arc to give the Baby Lancers a 7-point lead at the end of the third quarter.
Diaz then opened the final canto with 8 straight points to give the Magis Eagles a slim one point lead.
However, Jelianggao and Joshua Yerro combined to bring back the upperhand to their side.
Maglasang then became unstoppable with 6 straight points to give the Baby Lancers an 8-point lead, 65-58.
Still, the Magis Eagles refused to concede the game but the closest they could come was at 6 points with only seconds remaining in the ballgame.
Jelianggao sealed the win for the UV Baby Lancers by converting one of his charities.
UV Baby Lancers (72) - Maglasang 15, Rosete 14, Laurente 11, Paraldo 9, Omandac 7, Yerro 7, Jelianggao 5, Amistoso 4.
SHS-AdC Magis Eagles (67) - Visser 14, Diaz 13, PW Yu 13, Colonia 7, Tuadles 7, Cutamora 4, JB Yu 4, Manaytay 3,
Javelosa 2. – Rappler.com