CEBU CITY, Philippines – The University of Cebu (UC) Webmasters opened their second round of eliminations with a 73-61 taming of the University of Southern Philippines Foundation (USPF) Panthers Tuesday, September 1, in the 15th Cebu Schools Athletic Foundation, Inc. (CESAFI) men's basketball tournament held at the New Cebu Coliseum.
Unlike their older brothers, the USPF Baby Panthers stayed in contention in the junior division by ending the chances of the Cebu Institute of Technology-University (CIT-U) Wildkittens, 77-56.
Despite having already played their first game in the second round, the Webmasters, just like the Southwestern University (SWU) Cobras, also still has one game to play to end their first round campaign.
The Webmasters were supposed to meet the Cobras last August 22 but the game was rescheduled because presidential candidate Mar Roxas used the New Cebu Coliseum for a gathering on that weekend.
Instead, the game will be played on Thursday, September 3. It was earlier rescheduled for August 31, Monday, but the Cobras requested for another date to afford them time to rest after defeating the University of San Carlos (USC) Warriors last Sunday.
Garciano Puerto put in a rare performance of double-double with his 17 points and 15 rebounds and clinched the best player honors. He also had 4 assists, 4 steals and 1 block.
Teammates Jhan Calvin Jabello and Joseph Daniel Mayol also finished with 16 and 15, respectively, a career high for both hoopsters.
It had seemed that the Panthers would finally barged into the win column when they overcame a 0-10 Webmasters' run anchored by two triples from Gilberto Sastrillas and eventually tied the game at 13-all on a basket of Winston Bolivar.
A Matthew Grafilo basket, however, allowed the Webmasters to end the first quarter with a 2-point advantage, 15-13.
Hungry for a win after losing all of its six games in the first round, the Panthers continued to rally tying the game twice at 18-all and 20-all before getting a taste of the lead courtesy of Brantford Borces. A triple play from Karl Langahin had the Panthers enjoying a 5-point lead at 26-21.
With less than two minutes left before the halftime break, it was the Webmasters turn to bring the game to a deadlock at 29-all following the rainbow shot of Melvin Butohan. They even regained the lead at 32-31 on a shot from the arc by Mayol.
Not to be outdone, Sastrillas answered with a trey of his own to close out the second quarter in favor of the Panthers, 34-32.
After the Panthers' stretched its lead to four points on the basket of Roy Quiachon, Mayol then exploded with three treys which allowed the Webmasters to regain the lead, 43-36.
With the Webmasters leading 43-41 with three minutes left going into the final canto, Jawein Wisdom Ceniza had a chance to tie the game at 43-all on a fastbreak but he missed his layup attempt.
Still, the Panthers were able to tie the game, although for the last time, at 47-all, with another rainbow shot from Sastrillas.
However, a trey from Butohan closed out the third quarter in favor of the Webmasters, 50-47.
It was in the fourth quarter that Puerto was able to hurt the Panthers in a big way wherein one of his baskets gave the Webmasters another 10-point advantage inside the last two minute mark.
There was a bit of a commotion at the Panthers' bench at the start of the final canto when the referees failed to call out the unsportsmanlike behavior of Mayol who kicked Quiachon, who was on the floor, in the head while everyone was on the other end of the court.
Panthers head coach Albert Alocillo complained to the table officials, however, the referees made nothing of it and the game went on.
Puerto unloaded 11 points in the fourth quarter alone that led to UC taking its third win in six games. The Panthers, on the other hand, languish at the bottom rung as victory continues to be elusive for them.
Baby Panthers top Wildkittens
In the junior division, Ain Obenza was named best player with his 18 points, 9 rebounds and 4 steals as the Baby Panthers ended the hopes of the Wildkittens.
The Baby Panthers contained the Wildkittens to merely four points, 25-4, as they opened the first quarter with a blistering 12-0 run.
There was not a shadow of the team which handed the USC Baby Warriors their first defeat as the Wildkittens trailed the Baby Panthers at 23 points twice, once each in the 2nd and 3rd quarters.
With the loss, the Wildkittens ends their CESAFI campaign at 7th place with its win-loss record of 3-5.
With the junior division following a single round-robin elimination format, top two teams earn automatic entry to the semifinals, teams placing fourth to sixth will play in the quarterfinals while teams finishing seventh down are eliminated.
On Thursday, September 3, the USC Baby Warriors will get a chance to get back into the win column and get a good grip of the second place as they go up against the USJR Jaguars. Both teams tote the same 4-2 win-loss record.
Thursday, September 3 at New Cebu Coliseum
5:15 PM USC vs USJR
6:45 PM SWU vs UC
USPF (77) - Obenza 18, Cometa 13, Peligrino 11, Hernando 9, Archival 7, Soon 6, Sandoval 4, Lequin 4, Macalam 3, Ybañez 2, Justol 0, Urot 0, Tajo 0.
CIT-U (56) - Berezo 11, Ares 10, Abinuman 10, Colonia 8, Villarico 5, Patrimonio 3, Marata 3, Suson 2, Hapin 2, Nisnisan 1, Cabarrubias 0, Vallena 0.
Quarter Scores: 25-4; 39-19; 53-38; 77-56.
UC (73) - Puerto 17, Jabello 16, Mayol 15, Butohan 15, Culango 4, Suelto 2, Codilla 2, Grafilo 2, Dacalos 0, Tagudin 0, Montilla 0.
USPF (61) - Sastrillas 12, Borces 11, Alocillo 10, Quiachon 8, Bolivar 5, Avanceña 4, Bajamunde 4, Langahin 4, Ceniza 3, Patalinghug 0, Villamor 0, Laver 0.
Quarter Scores: 15-13; 32-34; 50-47; 73-61. – Rappler.com