CEBU CITY, Philippines - The University of Cebu (UC) Junior Webmasters defied the odds to take game one of the juniors division best of 3 finals via a 73-63 upset of defending champion Sacred Heart School-Ateneo de Cebu (SHS-AdC) Magis Eagles Tuesday, October 6 at the New Cebu Coliseum.
This victory is perhaps the biggest upset so far in the 15th CESAFI men's basketball tournament as they dealt the Magis Eagles their first loss after going undefeated in the eliminations, quarterfinals and semifinals.
UC relied on their triumvirate of Froilan Mangubat, Luigi Kondrad Gabisan and Jason Florence Abejo who all delivered the goods with aplomb. And, they also got the much needed help from 5-foot-3 inches tall Gelmart Umpad who epitomizes the line “small but terrible.”
Mangubat topscored for UC with 21 points, 7 rebounds, 5 assists and 5 steals while Abejo finished with 15 points, 7 rebounds and 1 steal and Gabisan contributed 13 points, 7 rebounds, two assists and two steals.
Umpad, for his part, was also very instrumental in UC's win as he dished 14 points, 5 rebounds and 4 assists.
Both teams waxed hot at the start of the ballgame and were neck-to-neck until the last 3 minutes going into the second quarter. After tying the game at 11-all, the Magis Eagles surged past the Junior Webmasters with a 9-0 run. A trey from Joseph Santome allowed the Junior Webmasters to trail by only 6 points at the end of the first quarter.
In the second canto, Abejo, who was not fielded in the first quarter for not joining team practice, was sent in and immediately made a difference by cutting down the Magis Eagles' lead to a point, 19-20, as he sank the first of his 3 triples.
The Junior Webmasters then took the lead on Gabisan's layup before the Magis Eagles was able to tie the game again at 25-all. But a four-point play from Abejo allowed the Junior Webmasters to widen the gap and they eventually ended the first half in their favor, 33-27, on a rainbow shot, this time from Mangubat.
In the second half, the Magis Eagles rallied behind the back-to-back baskets of Eroll Pastor to bring the game to a 35-all deadlock for the fifth time but the Junior Webmasters pulled away again with Abejo and Mangubat converting their charities and sinking a trey each to hold on to a 7-point lead going into the final canto.
The Magis Eagles tried to get back into the game but the Junior Webmasters outrebounded them and managed so many steals right under the basket that they once again posted their highest lead of 10 points on Mangubat's rainbow shot.
The last two minutes had Umpad scoring on a triple play and converting 3 of his 4 gift shots to bring the Junior Webmasters at a safe distance, 71-63.
Patrick Wilson Yu attempted a shot from beyond the arc but the ball just glanced off the rim and as Mangubat went for the rebound, he was fouled and sank his gift shots to seal the UC Junior Webmasters amazing feat of the season so far.
Game schedule - Thursday, October 8 at New Cebu Coliseum
5:15 pm – SHS-AdC vs UC (Game 2 Best of 3 Juniors Championships)
6:45 pm – SWU vs USJ-R (Game 2 Best of 3 Seniors 3rd Place)
UC (73) - Mangubat 21, Abejo 15, Umpad 14, Gabisan 13, Cuyos 5, Santome 5.
SHS-AdC (63) - P. Yu 13, Bersaluna 11, Pastor 11, Colonia 9, Mantua 9, Calumpang 3, Manaytay 3, Chen 2, J. Yu 2.
Quarter scores: 14-20; 33-27; 47-40, 73-63. – Rappler.com