CEBU CITY – One-time MVP Rey Suerte celebrated his birthday in rousing fashion as he sank the game-winning three-pointer with 0.4 of a second left to lift the University of Visayas Green Lancers to a thrilling 81-78 win over the University of San Carlos Warriors in the 2018 Cesafi men’s basketball tournament on Thursday at the Cebu Coliseum.
Suerte’s heroics capped off a fiercely fought game that saw the game get tied twice inside the final minute, the last at 78-all with 4.9 seconds left after USC forward John Reel Saycon hit a triple from the right wing.
UV sued for time and on the ensuing play, got the ball to Suerte who dribbled twice and rose up over USC big man Sommy Managor to sink a three-pointer to put UV ahead for good, 81-78.
With no more timeouts, the Warriors were not able to get off a shot as time expired.
UV has now won five straight and at 8-3, now sits just a game behind the University of Cebu, which is at 9-2, for the best record in the league. The two rivals face off for the second time this season on Sunday in a game that has serious implications on the Final Four and its seedings.
The loss left USC at 4-7 and placed them a game behind idle University of Southern Philippines Foundation, which has a 5-6 record, good for fourth place and the last ticket to the Final Four.
After the final buzzer sounded, Suerte, who was celebrating his 24th birthday on Thursday, was pelted by eggs – a Green Lancer tradition – by UV head coach Gary Cortes. The pride of Monkayo in Compostela Valley, finished the game with 29 points, five rebounds, five assists, two steals and a blocked shot.
Gileant Delator and Bassiere Sackor finished with 16 points each, the latter also pulling down 16 boards and the former tallying six steals, five rebounds and three assists.
Sommy Managor paced USC with 24 points and 10 boards while Saycon tallied 20 points, seven rebounds, four assists, seven steals and a blocked shot.
UV (81) Suerte 29, Delator 16, Sackor 16, Maestre 7, Cabahug 6, Segumpan 4, Maglasang 3
USC (78) Managor 24, Saycon 20, Langres 16, Laguyo 13, Tan 4, Mangubat 1
Quarterscores: 18-15, 34-38, 57-51, 81-78