CEBU CITY – University of the Visayas locked up the top seed in the Final Four of the 17th Cesafi men’s basketball tournament with a tough 82-72 victory over University of San Jose-Recoletos Thursday night at the Cebu Coliseum here.
Versatile forward Jerome Napao sparked the Green Lancers’ endgame push with his relentless pursuit of the ball and scoring on consecutive putbacks to put his team in front for good and capture its 10th straight win.
More importantly, UV will head to the Final Four as the no.1 team and will face off against the fourth seeded squad armed with a twice-to-beat advantage.
Napao finished with 13 points and 11 rebounds to go with three assists, four steals and a block. Monic Soliva led the Green Lancers with 15 points, surprisingly swishing in three from three-point range.
Liberian big man Bassiere Sackour had 13 points and nine rebounds, while team captain Josue Segumpan and reigning league MVP Rey Suerte tallied 10 each.
Down 64-65, Napao scored on a putback and a tip-in on back-to-back possessions, while Sackour added another to put UV ahead, 70-65.
The Jaguars closed to within 71-72, but Suerte scored on a step-through floater inside the paint to raise the lead to three 1:20 to go.
Napao and Sackour then scored four straight free-throws in the final minute to ice the win for UV.
RJ Dinolan and Jaybie Mantilla scored 15 each for USJ-R, which fell to 8-3. Tricky Peromingan and Miguel Gastador added 11 each.
UV (82) -- Soliva 15, Napao 13, Sackor 13, Suerte 10, Segumpan 10, Albina 6, Gahi 5, Saga 4, Balabag 4, Maestre 2.
USJ-R (72) -- Mantilla 15, Dinolan 15, Peromingan 11, Gastador 11, Catiloc 8, Ubalde 5, Pacanuayan 4, Navarra 2, de-Haan 1.
Quarterscores: 17-14; 40-30; 56-57; 82-72.