CEBU CITY, Philippines – For the first time this season, the University of San Carlos (USC) Warriors played like the defending champions that they are with an 89-75 demolition of the University of the Visayas (UV) Green Lancers.
The Green Lancers just suffered their back-to-back loss in the Cebu Schools Athletic Foundation Inc (CESAFI) collegiate basketball tournament held Thursday, September 15, at the New Cebu Coliseum.
It wasn’t all doom for UV, however, as its high school team, the Baby Lancers, clinched a playoff berth with their 85-73 bashing of the University of Southern Philippines Foundation (USPF) Baby Panthers in a game held earlier.
While the Green Lancers suffered their second straight loss in the season, the Warriors, on the other hand, picked up their second straight win of the season. These two are also last season’s finalists with USC prevailing 3-2 in the Finals series.
This season, the two teams split their two meetings, with UV defeating USC, 72-64, in their first meeting in the first round of elimination last August 28.
Despite the loss, UV, however, still owns the second spot with its 6-3 win-loss record. And with 3 more games to go, UV is sure to bounce back and grab a twice-to-beat advantage in the quarterfinals.
USC, for its part, solidified its hold on 4th place, with its 5-4 card. It's the last spot where a team can enjoy a twice-to-beat advantage going into the playoffs. With also 3 games to go, the Warriors are sure going to inch up the leaderboard further.
For the second time in a row, Kevin Oleodo was named the Best Player of the Game after he finished with 16 points, 8 of which he scored straight in the opening minutes of the first quarter. He also sank 4 out of 8 3FG attempts, including two in the early minutes of the first quarter that allowed USC to pull away to a 7-point lead, 10-3, following the opening buzzer of the game.
Another crucial trey that Oleodo sank was in the third quarter when USC was holding a precarious 1-point lead with a little more than 6 minutes remaining in the canto.
Four other Warriors scored in double figure with Jules Langres adding 12 markers, Lucky Ecarma with 11, and Giovannie Laguyo and Victor Emmanuel Rabat each contributing 10 markers.
The only time that the UV Green Lancers held the lead was in the first two minutes when they opened the ballgame with a trey. After that they were constantly trailing the USC Warriors except with 6 minutes remaining in the third quarter when they came as close as 1 point, following an 8-0 run sparked by two treys from Josue Segumpan.
After that, they never got a chance again to nip at the heels of the Warriors. It didn’t help that the Green Lancers also failed to convert a total of 20 gift shots.
The UV Green Lancers was topscored by Segumpan and import Bassieru Sackor who both had 19 points.
USC posted its highest lead at 17 points early in the second half. The Warriors’ cause was also greatly helped by Rabat who seemed to have found his game after struggling mostly in their previous games.
In the High School contest, the UV Baby Lancers climbed up to the third spot after improving their record to 5-2. They still have a chance to finish the elimination round in the second spot – that is, if they can sweep their last two remaining games.
John Luis Escobar was named Best Player with his double-double performance of 13 points and 12 rebounds.
Despite winning, the UV Baby Lancers will be missing one of their players in their next game after Joshua Yerro was ejected from the game after incurring two unsportsmanlike fouls. He will be suspended for one game, fined P5,000, and will have to accomplish 4 hours of community service before he can return to the hardcourt.
The USPF Baby Panthers, on the other hand, are looking at an early exit with their 2-6 card with only one game remaining in the elimination round.
Christopher Erick Isabelo had one of his best games after he finished with 21 points, but it was all for naught.
USC Warriors (89) - Oleodo 16, Langres 12, Ecarma 11, Laguyo 10, Rabat 10, Divinagracia 6, Catapusan 5, Munez 5, Tagapan 5, Adlawan 4, Ntumba 3, Tan 2.
UV Green Lancers (75) - Sackor 19, Segumpan 19, Napao 12, Suerte 6, Soliva 6, Balabag 6, Codilla 4, Gahi 3.
UV Baby Lancers (85) - Cabahug 15, Escobar 13, Jelianggao 10, Maata 8, Omandac 8, Oche 6, Paraldo 6, Yerro 6, Brillo 4, Maglasang 4, Laurente 3, Bayaton 2.
USPF Baby Panthers (73) - Isabelo 21, Cometa 12, Lequin 10, Ynot 7, Evardo 6, Nalo 6, Ochavo 3, Sullano 3, Sangoyo 2, Ugbaniel 2, Ducay 1.
Team Standings as of September 14:
1. SWU-PHINMA - 9-0
2. UV - 6-3
3. USJ-R - 5-3
4. USC - 5-4
5. UC - 2-6
6. USPF - 2-6
7. CIT-U - 0-7
1. SHS-Ateneo - 7-1**
2. DBTC - 6-2*
3. UV - 5-2*
4. UC - 5-3*
5. CEC - 5-3*
6. USJ-R - 4-4
7. SWU-PHINMA - 3-5
8. USPF - 2-6
9. USC - 2-6
10. CIT-U - 0-8
**Clinch automatic semifinals berth
*Clinch playoff berth