CEBU CITY – The reigning champions University of the Visayas Green Lancers asserted themselves in the fourth period to prevail over the University of San Carlos Warriors, 81-71, in the semifinals and march into the championship round of the 17th Cesafi men’s basketball tournament on Thursday at the Cebu Coliseum.
Tied at 58-all at the start of the fourth after the Warriors came storming back from a 15-point deficit, the Green Lancers methodically pulled away, starting with a brief 10-4 rally capped by a turnaround jumper by Monic Soliva that put them ahead, 68-62.
A 13-4 run then put USC away as UV veterans Bassiere Sackour, Sheldon Gahi and Rey Suerte exploited gaps in the Warriors’ defense to erect an 81-68 lead with 1:22 left in the match.
Sackour led the Green Lancers with an impressive double-double of 16 points and 17 rebounds. Suerte, the league’s reigning MVP, had 14 points and nine boards but uncharacteristically turned the ball over a whopping 11 times.
Soliva pumped in 13 while Gahi and Josue Segumpan added 12 each.
UV will face off against the winner of the do-or-die game between the University of Cebu and the University of San Jose-Recoletos on Saturday. Game 1 of the best-of-three finals will be on Wednesday.
The Warriors got 18 points, five boards and six dimes from rookie sensation John Reel Saycon while Kurt Trangia came off the bench to score 13. Kent Cabanog added 10.
UV (81) Sackour 16, Suerte 14, Soliva 13, Segumpan 12, Gahi 12, Albina 6, Napao 6, Maestre 2
USC (71) Saycon 18, Trangia 13, Cabanog 10, Araw-Araw 8, Ecarma 7, Rabat 4, Oguis 4, Cadavis 4, Tan 3
Quarterscores: 20-11; 38-32; 58-58; 81-71