CEBU CITY, Philippines – The University of San Carlos (USC) Warriors prevented what would have been an upset as they managed to streak past the Cebu Institute of Technology – University (CIT-U) Wildcats, 75-83, in another exciting game of the ongoing 15th Cebu Schools Athletic Foundation, Inc. (CESAFI) basketball competition held at the Cebu Coliseum August 18, Tuesday.
The game will be televised on August 19, 7 PM on IBC 13.
In the secondary contest, the University of Cebu (UC) Junior Webmasters survived the challenge mounted by the University of the Visayas (UV) Baby Lancers to manage a 70-64 victory.
Ian Jefferson Tagapan topscored for the Warriors with 29 points, 4 of which were shot from the arc. He also pulled down nine rebounds and two steals. Also contributing largely to the Warriors' win was their import, Shooster Olago, who finished with 17 points, 16 rebounds and 4 steals.
Caesar Ian Ortega, who only had 13 points, shared the best player honors of the ballgame with Tagapan after his 5 straight points - a basket and a trey - allowed the Warriors to take an 8-point lead against the Wildcats, 78-70, with a little less than two minutes remaining in the ballgame. He also tallied 3 rebounds and 5 assists.
From the start, it was a tall order for the Wildcats as they not only faced a team considered as a strong contender for this season's title, but the Warriors also finished as last season's first runner-up behind defending champions Southwestern University (SWU) Cobras.
However, instead of a refreshed and energized Warriors following a week of having no scheduled games, the start of the ballgame saw a sluggish team who struggled to find the net and allowed the Wildcats to end the first quarter with an 11-point advantage, 10-21.
In the second quarter, the Warriors managed to come close at 20-27 on the efforts of Tagapan who sank two shots from the rainbow in between the two gift shots of Giovanni Laguyo.
The Wildcats was not about to give up their lead easily as Joshua Romelle Dela Cerna, last year's leading scorer, combined with Jose Marlo Pono to contain the Warriors at a safe distance, 31-21.
Steven Bucao exacerbated the Warriors' woes as his back-to-back triples put the Wildcats out of reach. The Wildcats continued its unbelievable run against the Warriors by posting its highest lead of 17 points, 43-26, at the end of the first half.
But the Warriors refused to concede the game as they came back strong in the third quarter and went on an 8-0 run in the first seven minutes cutting the Wildcats lead to nine points, 34-43.
The Warriors continued to stay in the game by bringing down the Wildcats lead to a mere five points, 40-45, with 5 minutes remaining before the start of the final canto.
Dela Cerna once again erupted with 7 points and with another triple from Bucao, the Wildcats once again had the upperhand, 59-48, at the end of the third quarter.
The fourth quarter, however, saw the Wildcats buckling from the steady pressure applied by the Warriors as they finally took the lead for only the second time in the ballgame, 67-66, on Tagapan's basket.
The Wildcats tried to rally but fell onto their usual endgame collapse and lost the chance to have won their second in five games.
The USC Warriors, on the other hand, extended its winning streak to 3 in as many games.
Meanwhile, the UC Junior Webmasters improved its win-loss record to 3-2 after its win over the UV Baby Lancers.
The Junior Webmasters went on a 7-0 run with the Baby Lancers only sinking its first basket, a triple from Froiland Maglasang, after six minutes already gone in the first quarter which eventually ended in UC's favor, 15-10.
The Baby Lancers fared no better in the second quarter after furious efforts from Froiland Mangubat and John Bryl Cuyos put the Junior Webmasters further ahead, 28-22, at the end of the first half.
It was in the third quarter that the Baby Lancers started to hurt the Junior Webmasters on Beirn Anthony Laurente's efforts capped by back-to-back triples that gave UV the lead at 35-32. The third canto eventually ended with the Baby Lancers wrestling the lead by a point from the Junior Webmasters, 48-47, on Raul Jancork Cabahug's basket.
The start of the final quarter had both teams exchanging leads and deadlocking several times until the final three minutes when Mangubat and Cuyos scored on two straight baskets to give the Junior Webmasters space, 66-60.
In the last 8 seconds, Mangubat converted his charities while Gelmart Umpad split his to give the Junior Webmasters the win.
Games Schedule August 20, Thursday @ Cebu Colesium
5:15 PM – SHS-AdC vs USJR (Juniors)
6:45 PM – USJR vs USC (Seniors)
First Game: (Juniors)
UC (70) -- Cuyos 21, Mangubat 20, Gabisan 15, Soco 5, Umpad 5, Abejo 3, Hemida 1, Labrada 0, Malubay 0, Florita 0, Intrampas 0, Ecal 0, Santome 0.
UV (64) -- Cabahug 27, Laurente 17, Maglasang 9, Ro, Alforque 5, Membrano 3, Ra. Alforque 2, Yerro 2, Amistoso 0, Evardo 0, Saliot 0, Oche 0, Paraldo 0.
Quarter scores: 15-10; 28-22; 47-48; 70-64.
Second Game: (Seniors)
USC (83) -- Tagapan 29, Olago 17, Ortega 13, Pepito 8, McAloney 7, Rabat 3, Magat 2, Suarez 2, Laguyo 2, Maconocido 0, Oleodo 0.
CIT-U (75) -- Dela Cerna 27, Bucao 16, Pono 7, Lucena 7, Kong 7, Taghoy 5, Dimco 4, Sanchez 2, Mumar 0.
Quarter scores: 10-21; 26-43; 48-59; 83-75.