CEBU CITY — Jovanie Luz came through with the big baskets to push Southwestern University past University of San Carlos, 59-55, in Game One of the Cesafi men’s basketball finals on Monday night at the Cebu Coliseum.
Luz hit three triples to help the Cobras turn an early four-point deficit into a 29-23 lead at halftime and SWU held on for the win. He finished with 15 points, four rebounds, three assists and three steals.
Game Two of the best-of-five series is set Tuesday at 6:30 p.m.
The Cobras uncorked a 14-5 run capped by a shotclock-beating triple by Mark Tallo and a corner triple from Melvin Holper that gave them a 43-28 lead.
USC trimmed it to nine, 36-45, but SWU maintained control, with Luz stripping the ball from Kiefer Lim at halfcourt and feeding Landry Sanjo for an easy lay-up that made it 54-46.
The Warriors crept to within four points with two minutes to play, but the Cobras maintained the gap until the final buzzer. Landry Sanjo had 13 points and four rebounds, while Tallo had 10 and nine for SWU.
Cameroonian Shooster Olago Olago led the Warriors with 16 points and 16 rebounds. However, he struggled to make his shots, converting just six of his 19 attempts, while committing a game-high nine turnovers. In all, USC turned the ball over 32 times, while issuing a measly four assists.
SWU (59) - Luz 15, Sanjo 13, Tallo 9, Bregondo 8, Parker 4, Valdor 4, Holper 3, Goloran 2, Pardo 0, Mohammed 0, Lagbas 0.
USC (55) - Olago 16, Pepito 9, Rabat 7, Laude 5, Lim 4, Toyambi 4, Tagapan 3, Laguyo 3, Asuncion 2, Bensig 2, Magat 0, Adlawan 0, Ecarma 0.
Quarterscores: 8-12; 29-23; 45-36; 59-55.