CEBU CITY - Prolific point guard Arc Gabrielle Araw-Araw provided the glow in Sacred Heart School-Ateneo de Cebu Magis’ 80-76 win over defending champion University of Visayas in Game One of the 12th Cebu Schools Athletic Foundation Inc. (Cesafi) boys’ basketball finals on Monday night at the Cebu Coliseum.
Araw-Araw hit one big shot after another, including the game-winning lay-up in the final 13.7 seconds that capped the Eagles’ fightback from a 10-point third-period deficit.
The 5-foot-6 guard, who once suited up for the San Beda juniors team before making his way back to Cebu, topscored with 20 points, including 11 in the third quarter as the Eagles took a 1-0 lead in the best-of-five series.
The Baby Lancers were in control early on as they built a 62-52 lead in the second half.
The Eagles’ woes were even compounded with star center Dawn Ochea getting into foul trouble and the team trailing 73-66 in the final 3:31 following a runner by UV star and current league MVP Paul Desiderio.
But Araw-Araw was unfazed.
He sparked a game-turning 8-0 run following a huge three-pointer. Then following two free throws by Ochea, Araw-Araw nailed a foul shot and followed it up with a high-looping trey from the left wing that suddenly put the Eagles on top, 75-73, with 1:46 left.
Desiderio tied the game for the last time at 76-all with a teardrop in the final 50.6 seconds.
Araw-Araw, however, had the last laugh as he scored the go-ahead basket, 78-76, when he eluded his defender and banked in a lay-up.
The Baby Lancers had one final shot at tying the game, but Ernesto Limitares was called for stepping on the baseline as he was inbounding the ball.
The Eagles’ Janjan Jaboneta nailed two free throws for the final tally.
Rendell Senining bucked a broken left hand to score 14 points for the Eagles, while Fletcher Galvez added 10, mostly as a reliever for Ochea.
Desiderio was again unstoppable on offense with 31 points, but had little help from the rest of his teammates.