CEBU CITY, Philippines - The Southwestern University (SWU)-Phinma Cobras opened their second round of eliminations on a high note by exacting revenge against the University of Cebu (UC) Webmasters, 71-62, in the CESAFI collegiate basketball tournament Tuesday, September 5 at the New Cebu Coliseum.
The Webmasters and the Cobras opened this year’s 17th CESAFI season last month with the former thrashing the latter, 59-49. The games between the two have been highly anticipated due to the fact that up until early this year, new Webmasters head coach Raul “Yayoy” Alcoseba was holding the reins for the Cobras.
Alcoseba, the winningest basketball coach in Cebu, left the Cobras early this year but returned to the basketball scene during the summer to take over the Webmasters.
While the Cobras have had a spectacular run in the eliminations for the past two CESAFI seasons, losing only once in 2015 and sweeping their elimination games in 2016, they failed to advance to the finals.
The Webmasters, on the other hand, last advanced to the top 4 in 2012 when Brian Hereula used to play with them.
Both teams are hungry for a title with the SWU-Phinma last winning it in 2014.
UC Webmasters have had a longer title drought as they last won the men’s title in 2011 when June Mar Fajardo played for UC.
With the departure of two-time CESAFI MVP Mark Jayven Tallo, who is now playing for Racal Tile Masters in the PBA D-league, the Cobras have been finding themselves in unfamiliar territory. They ended the first round of elimination second to the last among 7 teams after they won only one of their 6 games.
However, their win against a much-improved Webmasters showed that it is still too early to put them out in the running for the playoffs.
Gerald Fernandez top scored for the Cobras with 16 points and 6 rebounds. Three other Cobras also helped much by scoring in double digits. They were Edmundo Bayhonan who had 15 markers and Jovanie Luz and Mark Christopher Racho who each had 11 points.
The Webmasters import, Frederick Ngoh Elombi of Cameroon, once again had an explosive performance with another double double scattering 25 points and pulling down 15 boards. It wasn’t enough, however, to extend the Webmasters win as only one other Webmaster scored in double figures, John Calvin Jabello who contributed 10 points.
The Cobras had pulled to an early 5-point lead at the start of the ballgame, 6-1, but Jabello managed to tie the game at 6-all with his 5 straight points.
The game deadlocked again at 8-all before the Webmasters managed to distance themselves 15-8 anchored on another triple play by Jabello and 4 gift shots from Elombi. They eventually ended the first quarter with a 7-point lead, 18-11.
However, the Cobras weren’t going to stay down for long as they slowly came back into the game on the combined efforts of Luz, Fernandez, Bayhonan, Racho and Sir Shaquille Imperial which eventually allowed them to wrest and enjoy a slim 1-point lead, 29-28, at the halftime break.
The Webmasters managed to once again get the upperhand but a triple from Racho swayed the momentum to the Cobras side and from there they erected a 13-point lead, 50-37, going into the final canto.
The Cobras continued their dominance in the final quarter. The Webmasters did come as close to within 6 points, 62-68, on a basket by Jayvee Dela Cruz with 27.9 seconds left in the ballgame but time eventually ran out for them.
Freebies from William Rosebelt Polican and Fernandez sealed the win for the Cobras.
In the high school contest, the Cebu Eastern College (CEC) Dragons extend their win to 3 in 6 games after surviving the SWU-Phinma Baby Cobras, 60-56.
Ivan Dave Ares led the Dragons with 23 points while James Tempra and Jess Andre Gabutero also contributed much with 14 and 10 points, respectively.
Gyle Patrick Montaño and Harvey Kent Sanchez topscored for the Baby Cobras with 15 points apiece while also chipping in 10 points was Serg Jay Alburo. Their efforts, however, went to naught.
Games will resume on Sunday, September 10 as the New Cebu Coliseum will be used by the UC for their intramurals.
Scores - college
SWU-Phinma Cobras (71) - Fernandez 16, Bayhonan 15, Luz 11, Racho 11, Imperial 6, Nazareno 5, Bilao 4, Polican 3.
UC Webmasters (62) - Elombi 25, Jabello 10, Kishimoto 7, Dela Cruz 6, Dacalos 4, Puerto 4, Gonzaga 3, Tagudin 2, Ludovice 1.
CEC Dragons (60) - Ares 23, Tempra 14, Gabutero 10, Baruc 4, Vallena 4, Galarse 3, Soco 2.
SWU Baby Cobras (56) - Montaño 15, Sanchez 15, Alburo 10, Dicdiquin 7, Flores 4, Rosano 4, Isip 1. – Rappler.com