CEBU CITY – The University of the Visayas Green Lancers pulled off a hard-fought 69-56 victory over the University of Cebu Webmasters in the deciding Game Three of the 17th Cesafi basketball tournament on Sunday at the Cebu Coliseum.
The men’s team's victory put the crowning glory to a victorious season for UV basketball after its high school squad won the juniors championship earlier this week, completing the first golden double in the league since 2007.
The men’s team also hiked its collection to 12 championships - the most in the league.
Putting a premium on defense, the Green Lancers held UC’s Cameroonian powerhouse Frederick Elombi to a season-low three points, not allowing him to make a single field goal in 10 attempts. His first point didn’t come until the 8:28 mark of the fourth when he made a free throw.
Though Elombi added 11 rebounds, six assists, four steals and three blocks, UV’s swarming defense made him invisible for the rest of the game, leaving the Webmasters to lean on their local crew.
Elombi came in averaging 21 points and eight boards on 45 percent shooting.
In contrast, UV’s big guns came out firing on all cylinders with last year’s MVP Rey Suerte scoring 20 points to go with four rebounds, five assists and three steals while Soliva, a Mythical Five member last season, scored 10.
Liberian big man Bassiere Sackor and Mythical Five forward Jerome Napao nearly had double-doubles with nine points and 11 boards apiece.
Still, the title was not handed to UV on a silver platter as UC fought back from a 15-point deficit to cut it down to two, 46-48, as Justine Dacalos caught fire from behind the arc, draining three in the third.
But UV fired back with five straight from Soliva and Suerte to open a 53-46 lead heading to the final frame.
The Green Lancers then put the Webmasters away with a decisive 11-2 run in the fourth. Soliva sparked the breakaway by scoring two straight times in the post before Sackor and Napao hit the offensive glass hard for consecutive putbacks.
Suerte, with the shot clock winding down, then canned a three-pointer to give UV a huge 67-53 lead, with just 3:17 left.
Afterwards, a tearful Gary Cortes, the head coach of UV, said he’s glad with how his wards responded to the tough challenge posed by UC.
“I’m glad that they responded to the adjustments that we made. I hope that this team will go further and that we’ll be back to defend the title,” said Cortes.
Dacalos led the Webmasters with 23 points while Ruben Ludovice added 12 markers.
UV (69) - Suerte 20, Soliva 10, Napao 9, Sackor 9, Segumpan 8, Albina 7, Balabag 4, Gahi 2
UC (56) - Dacalos 23, Ludovice 12, Puerto 6, Elombi 3, dela Cruz 3, Kishimoto 3, Gonzaga 2, Jabello 2, Galay 2
Quarterscores: 21-13; 40-30; 53-46; 69-56