CEBU CITY — University of San Carlos pulled out all the stops at crunchtime to take down University of the Visayas, 79-69, on Saturday in the 15th Cesafi men’s basketball competition on Saturday night at the Cebu Coliseum.
The Warriors, last year’s runners-up, won their fifth game in a row to remain as the only unbeaten team in the tournament. The Green Lancers, owners of the most titles in league history with 10, fell to second place with a 4-1 win-loss card.
Ian Tagapan continued his stellar play, coming up with 22 points capped by a tough lay-up with 29.9 seconds remaining that settled the game’s final tally. He also had seven rebounds and two assists.
Cameroonian import Shooster Olago registered 20 points and six boards to eclipse compatriot and Lancers reinforcement Steve Akomo.
Nico Magat scored 14, while Charles Pepito had another double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds.
With the Warriors up by just two, 37-39, at the start of the second half, Tagapan worked to pad the lead to 52-42, scoring 13 straight points including three straight 3-pointer and two straight midrange jumpers.
The Lancers trimmed the deficit to six, 61-67, as sophomore guard Jun Manzo came on to spark the comeback with a triple.
But Olago answered with an in-your-face slam dunk on Akomo, while Pepito added a free-throw to bring the lead to nine, 70-61.
UV last threatened at 66-70 after a Jerome Napao three-point play and a runner by Manzo, 3:57 left in the contest.
Franz Arong scored 13, while Akomo had 12 points, seven rebounds, four steals and eight blocked shots. Former Batang Gilas wingman Leonard Santillan went scoreless.
USC 79 – Tagapan 22, Olago 20, Magat 14, Pepito 11, Laguyo 5, Ortega 4, Rabat 3, Maconocido 0, Suarez 0, McAloney 0, Adlawan 0.
UV – 69 Codilla 18, Arong 13, Akomo 12, Manzo 11, Aguirre 5, Napao 5, Segumpan 3, Suerte 2, Santillan 0, Mendoza 0, Balabag 0, Macion 0.
Quarterscores: 23-20; 39-37; 62-54; 79-69.