CEBU CITY, Philippines - Defending champion Sacred Heart School-Ateneo de Cebu (SHS-AdC) Magis Eagles were not about to give up the juniors title of the 15th CESAFI men's basketball tournament so easily as they force a decider against the University of Cebu (UC) Junior Webmasters by winning Game 2, 63-53, on Thursday October 8 at the New Cebu Coliseum.
Eroll Pastor came up big for the Magis Eagles with his huge double-double performance of 23 points and 23 rebounds. He also accounted for 4 steals.
Travis Jelour Mantua also stepped up his game for the Magis Eagles as he finished with 11 points.
SHS-AdC Magis Eagles head coach Rommel Rasmo credited their win to the crowd of blue-garbed supporters who filled one side of the coliseum and cheered their team's every point.
"Sila po yong 6th man namin (They were our sixth man). They inspired us. Thanks to our school president, Father Manny Uy, and all the admin, teachers and students. For the greater glory of God," said Rasmo.
The team also paid tribute to their supporters by facing them while on court and singing the school hymn along with them after the game.
The Magis Eagles were missing one of their key players in Andrew Vincent Velasco who fractured a finger on his right hand during their semifinals game against the University of San Carlos (USC) Baby Jaguars. He also missed Game 1.
The UC Junior Webmasters succumbed to the pressure exerted by the Magis Eagles as they were forced to miss their attempts and commit errors.
It also did not help that one of their reliable triumvirates, Luigi Kondrad Gabisan was not having a good night.
While Froilan Mangubat topscored for UC with 18 points and Jason Florence Abejo contributed 13 points, Gabisan only chipped in 4 points.
Nevertheless, the game was only decided in the final 5 minutes of the ballgame with back-to-back baskets from Pastor, the second he converted from a steal on Froilan Mangubat, which allowed the Magis Eagles to cruise to a 5-point lead with 4:26remaining.
The Magis Eagles' advantage ballooned to 8 points on a triple play from Wayne Kirby Bersaluna, who was fouled by Mangubat.
Cuyos and Umpad sank two baskets in the last two minutes but by then it was too late to stop the Magis Eagles from tying the series.
SHS-AdC (63) - Pastor 23, Mantua 11, Colonia 10, Chen 5, Bersaluna 4, Manaytay 4, Javelosa 3, Calumpang 2.
UC (53) - Mangubat 18, Abejo 13, Ecal 5, Cuyos 4, Gabisan 4, Santome 4, Malubay 3, Umpad 2.
Quarter scores: 12-9; 30-23; 41-39, 53-63. – Rappler.com