CEBU CITY – The University of San Carlos (USC) Warriors sent the University of Southern Philippines Foundation (USPF) Panthers crashing back to earth with a dominant 86-57 win in the 17th Cesafi men’s basketball tournament on Thursday at the New Cebu Coliseum.
Eager to prove that their all-local squad is just as – or even more lethal – than those with foreign reinforcements, the Warriors blitzed the Panthers on both ends of the floor, with the latter’s Nigerian big man Richy Managor getting the brunt of the attack, managing a mere point and two rebounds, after an impressive debut against the Cebu Institute of Technology-University a few days earlier.
Rookie John Reel Saycon racked up 12 points, seven rebounds, seven assists along with two steals and a block. His fellow rookie Magic Marata also had 12 markers while Kevin Oleodo and Victor Rabat added nine apiece.
USC gained some separation in the third canto where they scored 20 straight points to establish a sizable 68-34 cushion on the way to their second straight win and the early league lead.
Showcasing their newfound depth, USC's reserves did the most damage during that difference-making stretch as Marata and rarely-used players Leo Labiste and Bryan Divinagracia pumped in 13 points to help the Warriors blow the game wide open.
USC (86) Saycon 12, Marata 12, Oleodo 9, Rabat 9, Labiste 6, Araw-Araw 6, Mangubat 6, Cadavis 6, Tan 5, Ecarma 5, Divinagracia 4, Cabanog 3, Aranas 2, Oguis 1
USPF (57) Villarta 13, Colina 8, Alocillo 7, Quiachon 7, Patalinghug 6, Batac 6, Cuyos 3, Cada 2, Avancena 2, Cauba 2, Managor 1
Quarterscores: 23-15, 40-26, 68-35, 86-57