CEBU CITY, Philippines – The third-ranked University of Cebu (UC) Junior Webmasters pulled off the biggest upset so far in the juniors division of the 2015 CESAFI men's basketball tournament by outsmarting second-ranked University of San Carlos (USC) Baby Warriors, 76-66, to open their semifinals campaign Thursday, September 17 at the New Cebu Coliseum.
The Baby Warriors had a black ribbon pinned to their jerseys while the coaching staff wore black armbands to mourn and condemn the death of Karen Kaye Montebon, a 17-year-old accountancy student of USC who was brutally murdered and allegedly raped inside her home last Tuesday, September 15.
Prior to the semifinals round, team manager Atty. Baldomero Estenzo said that one of the things that the Junior Webmasters should do is to play as a team for a chance to win against the top-ranked teams, league leader Sacred Heart School-Ateneo de Cebu (SHS-AdC) Magis Eagles and the USC Warriors. And, in their first semifinals outing, they did just that.
Gelmart Umpad had a near triple-double performance with his 12 points, 10 rebounds and 9 assists. Nevertheless, he was named the best player of the ballgame. He also finished with 6 steals.
Froilan Mangubat topscored for the Junior Webmasters with 28 points as he made 7-of-14 three-point field goals. He also pulled down 9 rebounds and had 3 steals. Two other Junior Webmasters finished in double figures—Jason Florence Abejo who contributed 16 points and Luigi Kondrad Gabisan who added 10 points. Both hoopsters also pulled down 10 rebounds apiece.
In contrast, only two Baby Warriors scored in double figures, Alje Mendez who finished with 15 points and Ken Gato who accounted for 14 points.
The Junior Webmaster manned the paint well that they forced the Baby Warriors to shoot outside but this wasn't the case in the first quarter wherein they were trailing by as much as nine points, 17-8, going into the second canto.
UC then held USC to just eight points in the second quarter with the Junior Webmasters going for an 18-0 run from the 8:04 mark until Garrick Bande was able to hit a trey with 42 seconds left going to the halftime break.
With their explosive run, the Junior Webmasters was able to wrestle a 4-point lead at the end of the first half, 30-26.
However, the Baby Warriors refused to concede the game and rallied to silence the Junior Webmasters by tying the game at 34-all before racing to a five-point lead, 39-34, anchored on Gato's seven points.
The game got deadlocked two times more after that before the Junior Webmasters pulled away largely on the 3 triples from Mangubat to end the third quarter in their favor at 55-47.
The Junior Webmasters posted their biggest lead at 17 points, 65-48, at the 6:50 mark in the final canto.
Continuing to fight to the very end, the Baby Warriors managed to get as close as three points behind, 66-69, but Mangubat once again struck from beyond the arc to push the Baby Warriors further back.
With no answer coming from the Baby Warriors, Mangubat then sealed UC's biggest win so far by splitting his charities.
The teamwork and composure that the UC Junior Webmasters have shown in this game will be severely put to test when they face league leader SHS-AdC Magis Eagles this Saturday, September 19. Prior to their game, USC Baby Warriors and the University of the Visayas (UV) Baby Lancers hope to earn their first win in the semifinal round as they go up against each other.
Saturday, September 19 at New Cebu Coliseum
1 pm – UV vs USC
2:30 pm – SHS-AdC vs UC
4 pm – UC vs SWU
5:30 pm – CITU vs USPF
UC (76) – Mangubat 28, Abejo 16, Umpad 12, Gabisan 10, Cuyos 7, Soco 2, Labrada 1, Florita 0, Ecal 0, Santome 0, Hemida 0, Pando 0.
USC (66) – Mendez 15, Gato 14, Pakanna 8, Laurente 6, Chavez 4, Smith 4, Fontanosa 3, Bande 3, Mendoza 2, Ranuco 2, Damolo 0, Canieso 0, Macandog 0, Octaviano 0.
Quarter Scores: 8-17; 30-26; 55-47; 76-66. – Rappler.com