CEBU CITY – The University of the Visayas Baby Lancers nearly blew an 18-point lead but recovered in crunchtime to turn back bitter rivals Sacred Heart School-Ateneo de Cebu Magis Eagles, 61-58, and remain unbeaten in the 17th Cesafi high school basketball tournament on Sunday at the New Cebu Coliseum.
The latest chapter in Cebu’s fiercest high school basketball rivalry lived up to its billing as UV and Ateneo de Cebu traded blow after blow, up until the game’s final moment when the Baby Lancers heaved a sigh of relief after Magis Eagles guard Jed Colonia missed a potential game-tying heave from halfcourt at the final buzzer.
The Baby Lancers are now tied for the lead in the standings with the University of San Jose-Recoletos Baby Jaguars at 3-0 (win-loss).
Wily guard Beirn Laurente led UV with 14 points, four rebounds and four steals, and made the biggest shot for the Baby Lancers – a wide open layup with 1:16 remaining – that pushed their lead to five, 61-56, that momentarily quelled Ateneo de Cebu’s furious comeback try.
JJ Rosete added 10 points, four boards, three assists and three steals for the Baby Lancers.
With their offense running like a well-oiled machine and their defense taking full advantage of the absence of Magis Eagles top gun Andrew Velasco, the Baby Lancers surged ahead 36-18 early in the third. But Ateneo de Cebu kept their pursuit up and trimmed the deficit to eight, 39-47, heading to the fourth.
With lefty big man scoring from all angles and reigning two-time MVP Jed Colonia back in harness, the Magis Eagles pulled to within 56-59, 1:19 to go.
However on ensuing possession, Ateneo de Cebu lost track of Laurente who coolly banked in a layup with nobody around him to raise UV’s lead back to five, 61-56.
The Magis Eagles quickly scored off a Benedict Yu transition basket and gained a shot to tie the game after UV guard Robert Intrampas muffed a putback with three seconds left but Colonia’s desperation heave from inside halfcourt was off to the left as time expired, giving UV the thrilling win.
Christian Manaytay had 14 points, 10 rebounds and four blocked shots for Ateneo de Cebu, which did not do itself any favors by missing 17 of their 31 attempts from the free-throw line, and all 10 of their shots from beyond the arc. Colonia and Patrick Yu each had 11.
UV (61) Laurente 14, Rosete 10, Cometa 7, Yerro 7, Paraldo 6, Jelianggao 4, Amistoso 3, Intrampas 3, Maglasang 3, Parilla 2, Omandac 2.
SHS-AdC (58) Manaytay 14, PW Yu 11, Visser 7, Diaz 5, JB Yu 4, Chua 3, Gesalem 1.
Quarterscores: 18-6, 34-18, 47-39, 61-58