CEBU CITY – The University of the Visayas Green Lancers finally pulled one over bitter rivals Southwestern University-Phinma Cobras, 65-53, in the semifinals of the 16th Cesafi men’s basketball tournament on Sunday night at the Cebu Coliseum.
The Green Lancers couldn't have picked a better time to get a victory against their longtime rivals as they moved to the threshold of making the best-of-five finals after their second win in as many games in the single-round semifinals.
After winning 13 straight games this season, the Jaguars have left themselves behind the eight ball as they must get a win against the University of San Jose-Recoletos Jaguars on Thursday in order to get a shot at making it to the finals.
The Cobras were in good shape as they led, 27-17, at halftime, thanks to a crippling defensive stand that held the Lancers to just three in the second canto.
But UV, never more determined to get the monkey off its back, answered right back with a 10-0 run at the start of the third to tie the game before finally taking control with 10 unanswered points bridging the third and fourth quarters.
At the center of that comeback was power forward Monic Soliva, who repeatedly punished SWU’s interior defenders with an assortment of post moves, the last one a turnaround jumper that gave UV its largest lead at 56-45, with just 3:15 to go.
The Cobras rallied to bring it down to 53-58 after Bernie Bregondo scored on a left-handed layup off a feed by John Lloyd Luz. But UV put the game away on the very next play as Liberian reinforcement Bassiere Sackour found a waiting Jerome Napao for an easy deuce that raised their lead to seven with just 1:21 remaining.
Veteran guard Alfred Codilla topscored for the Green Lancers with 20 points while Soliva came up with 12, all of which came in the second half.
Quintin Nzuzi and Mac Tallo topscored with 12 points apiece for the Cobras, who dropped to 1-1 in a tie with the University of San Carlos Warriors.
UV Green Lancers (65) - Codilla 20, Soliva 12, Sackor 7, Napao 6, Segumpan 5, Suerte 5, Balabag 4, Gahi 4, Albina 2.
SWU-Phinma Cobras (53) - Nzuzi 12, Tallo 12, Ortega 10, Luz 7, Racho 4, Barte 3, Bregondo 3.
Quarterscores: 14-14, 17-27, 46-39, 65-53.