CESAFI: USC Warriors end eliminations as top seed

CEBU CITY, Philippines - The University of Cebu (UC) Webmasters has likely waved goodbye to Final Four contention in the 15th CESAFI men's basketball tournament after bowing to the University of San Carlos (USC) Warriors, 73-87, Tuesday, September 22 at the New Cebu Coliseum.

The USC Warriors ended the eliminations with a win-loss record of 10-2 to regain the top spot from the University of the Visayas (UV) Green Lancers, which has one game left against defending champion Southwestern University (SWU) Cobras this Saturday, September 26.

The University of San Jose Recoletos, on the other hand, have bolstered their chances of making it to the final four with an 88-81 thrashing of the University of Southern Philippines Foundation (USPF), who bowed out this season as the only team to have not won a single game. 

UC's loss has given the Cebu Institute of Technology-University (CIT-U) Wildcats, who ended the eliminations with a 5-7 card, a very slim chance of advancing to the final four. 

This is because the USJR Jaguars and the UC Webmasters still have one more game to play against each other, also this Saturday.

A win by USJR would mean that they will join USC, UV and SWU into the single round-robin semifinals. 

However, a win by UC will mean a triple tie for the fourth spot for UC, USJR and CIT-U which will be decided by a quotient system.

This means that Cebu basketball fans will have a very exciting match to look forward to this Saturday.

USC routs UC

Smarting from a 31-point loss which gave them their lowest output for the season, the Warriors made sure to recover by quickly setting up the tone of the ballgame and erecting a 12-point lead, 20-8, going into the second quarter with William McAloney making his presence felt by scoring six points.

McAloney continued his remarkable performance all throughout the game and posted a career high 15 points which earned him the best player title. He also grabbed 7 rebounds and one steal.

Ian Jefferson Tagapan topscored for the Warriors with 18 points, 7 rebounds, 3 assists and two steals while Victor Manuel Rabat accounted for 17 points, 5 rebounds and two steals. Also contributing much to the Warriors' win was Charles Pepito, who along with his 11 points also pulled down 12 rebounds.

Garciano Puerto Jr. led the Webmasters with 20 points with Justine Dacalos adding 11 points and Jhan Calvin Jabello dishing 10 points.

The Webmasters got over their miscues which hounded them in the first quarter and rallied in the second canto to pull down the Warriors' lead to just 4 points, 29-33, at the halftime break.

Rabat, however, opened the second half with two triples to once again widen the gap to eight points, 39-31.

The Webmasters did not give up and even managed to come as close as 3 points, 38-41, with a little more than 6 minutes remaining going into the final quarter on Jabello's two gift shots which he earned when he was fouled on the way to the basket after swiping the ball from Tagapan.

However, it was eventually the nearest that they could get as the Warriors pulled away to a 16-point advantage on the back-to-back layups of Caesar Ian Ortega to end the third canto at 65-49.

The Warriors continued to hold sway over the Webmasters and posted their biggest lead at 18 points on a basket from Pepito at the opening minutes of the final quarter.

The Webmasters doggedly worked to bring down the Warriors lead and managed to trail by just eight points with 4:59 remaining on the back-to-back rainbow shots of Dacalos and Melvin Butohan.

Jabello further pulled down the Warriors' lead to a mere 6 points when he split his charities, however, Tagapan led the Warriors to a blistering rally that saw them eventually sealing the game in their favor with a 14-point advantage.

USJR denies USPF a win

Juan Miguel Gastador led the Jaguars with a career high 22 points that earned him the best player tag. He completed his play with 9 rebounds, two assists, 3 steals and one block.

Helping the Jaguars to post their much needed win was Kevin Rey Villafranca who finished with 16 points and Ralph Jude Dinolan who handed 15 points.

The Panthers, on the otherhand, had 3 players finishing in double figures--Brantford Borces who topscored with 18 points, Jawein Wisdom Ceniza who had 17 points and Kino matthews Bajamunde who contributed 10 points.

Eager to finish the season with just a win, the Panthers was just trailing the Jaguars by half a basket, 15-16, in the first quarter when Gastador pulled up a triple allowing the Jaguars a breather.

The Panthers, however, was not far behind going into the second canto as they were only just 3 points, 19-22, behind.

But Ferdinand Risma started the second quarter with 3 straight baskets and had the Jaguars pulling away to 9 points, 28-19.

The Panthers was not without their own arsenals in Bolivar and Borces who combined for their own 3 straight baskets, one from Bolivar and back-to-back from Borces, that had  the Panthers once again nipping at the heels of the Jaguars, 25-28.

Again, Gastador came to the rescue handing the Jaguars a 5-point advantage at 30-25.

The Jaguars, however, held the Panthers to just a basket courtesy of Borces with 2:42 remaining, that had the Panthers staring at an 11-point deficit at the halftime break.

The second half saw the Jaguars continue to torment the Panthers as they padded their lead to as much as 12 points with 1:24left in the ballgame.

Ceniza and Gilberto Sastrillas started hitting their attempts from beyond the arc but it was already too late as the Jaguars clinched their much needed victory.

Game Schedule

Saturday, September 26 at New Cebu Coliseum

Seniors:

2 pm - UC vs USJR
3:30 pm - UV vs SWU

Scores:

First game:

USJ-R (88) - Gastador 22, Villafranca 16, Dinolan 15, Mantilla 13, Risma 8, Bayhonan 5, Labares 5, Navarra 4, Peromingan 0, Senining 0, Moral 0.

USPF (81) - Borces 18, Ceniza 17, Bajamunde 10, Bolivar 8, Colina 7, Avanceña 6, Alocillo 5, Quiachon 4, Sastrillas 3, Langahin 3, Laver 0, Patalinghug 0.

Quarter Scores: 22-19; 42-31; 66-56; 88-81.

Second game: 

USC (87) - Tagapan 18, Rabat 17, McAloney 15, Pepito 11, Olago 6, Laguyo 6, Ortega 4, Magat 4, Suarez 4, Lim 0, Oleodo 0.

UC (74) - Puerto 20, Dacalos 11, Jabello 10, Butohan 8, Mayol 7, Culango 6, Montilla 4, Suelto 3, Tagudin 2, Codilla 0, Santander 0, Grafilo 0, Luzares 0.

Quarter Scores: 20-8; 33-29; 65-49; 87-73. – Rappler.com