CEBU CITY —Southwestern University Cobras won their tenth game in a row, beating University of Southern Philippines Foundation, 79-72, on Sunday in the 16th Cesafi basketball tournament at the Cebu Coliseum.
The Cobras held a slim 39-36 lead at halftime but came out of the dugout firing on all cylinders to open up a 52-38 lead and blow the game wide open. At 10-0 the Cobras have clinched an outright semifinals berth with two games left remaining in the elimination round.
Two-time MVP Macmac Tallo had 21 points, three rebounds and three assists, while rookie forward Darwin Barte chipped in 14 points and five boards. Veteran swingman Ian Ortega added 10 markers for SWU.
Barte and fellow rookie Shaquille Imperial kicked off the telling run with easy baskets before Tallo added a transition lay-in and a gorgeous left-handed lay-up where he spun his defender around. Mark Racho capped off the 13-2 run with a short jumper that gave the Cobras a 52-38 lead.
SWU held USPF to just seven points in that stretch to carry an 18-point lead into the final frame.
The Cobras led by as many as 24 after a three-pointer by John Lloyd Luz before USPF made a late run.
Jayson Cando had 12 to pace USPF, which fell to 2-7.
SWU 79 — Tallo 21, Barte 14, Ortega 10, Imperial 8, Bravo 5, Luz 5, Polican 5, Racho 4, Molina 3, Bregondo 2, Roncal 2, Pardo 0, Clam 0.
USPF 72 — Cando 12, Quiachon 10, Ceniza 10, Langahin 9, Cada 6, Avanceña 6, Tenebroso 6, Meca 6, Sastrillas 4, Colina 2, Alocillo 1, Mangyao 0.
Quarterscores: 20-15; 39-36; 61-43; 79-72.
Jonas Rey N. Panerio