CEBU CITY – University of Cebu claimed the No. 3 seed in the Cesafi semifinals with a thrilling 69-59 win over University of San Carlos on Saturday at the Cebu Coliseum.
Though both teams ended up with the same 7-5 win-loss record at the end of the elimination round, the Webmasters wound up as third seeds due to a higher point differential. USC beat UC by just five, 67-62, in their first-round match.
The Webmasters were again led by Cameroonian big man Frederick Elombi, who had 27 points and 14 rebounds along with three steals. Justine Dacalos had 11 points, five boards, five assists and three steals, while Webmasters skipper JR Puerto added 10 points.
UC held a 22-point lead, 63-41, after an 11-2 run at the start of the fourth before USC went on a sizzling run of their own, anchored on the shotmaking of reserve guard Froilan Mangubat and Kent Cabanog, to pull within five, 59-64, with just 36 seconds to go.
But that proved to be USC’s final hurrah as Dacalos, Keiya Kishimoto and Elombi doused the rally with five straight free-throws to give UC the win.
UC will face second seeded University of San Jose-Recoletos in the semifinals starting on Tuesday. The Jaguars will have a twice-to-beat advantage.
USC takes on reigning champion University of the Visayas on Thursday.
UC 69 - Elombi 27, Dacalos 11, Puerto 10, Tagudin 6, Jabello 6, Codilla 4, Kishimoto 3, De la Cruz 2.
USC 59 - Cabanog 20, Mangubat 9, Saycon 7, Rabat 6, Aranas 4, Araw-Araw 3, Trangia 2, Ecarma 2, Oguis 2, Marata 2, Cadavis 2.
Quarterscores: 22-10; 25-20; 43-30; 69-59.