USC Warriors outlast UC Webmasters to complete first round sweep in Cesafi
Victor Rabat and the Warriors score their sixth win in as many outings. Photo courtesy of Ron Tolin

CEBU CITY —  University of San Carlos Warriors overcame a tough challenge from University of Cebu and emerged with a 67-62 victory to sweep the first round of eliminations in the 15th Cesafi men’s basketball tournament on Tuesday night at the Cebu Coliseum.

The Warriors led by as many as 15 points but had to lean on Cameroonian import Shooster Olago’s production down the stretch to fend off the feisty Webmasters who were within three at the start of the fourth period.

Olago scored 11 of his 22 points in the final frame and finished with 13 rebounds and three steals to tow USC to a league-best 6-0 win-loss record. Charles Pepito had another double-double of 13 points and 13 rebounds.

USC was poised for yet another blowout victory as they led, 26-11, after a 10-1 start to the second period. But UC finished that stretch strong with baskets from Justine Dacalos and Jan Jabello pulling them to within eight, 22-30, at halftime.

UC kept the pressure on and were only within three, 30-33, after a baseline jumper and a fadeaway from sweet-shooting lefty Melvin Butohan.

But USC kept their poise and remained in front, 52-46, heading to the final period. UC last threatened at 49-52 after another long bomb from Butohan but Olago’s scoring binge, capped by a nifty reverse lay-up that came off a well-executed inbounds play, and two free-throws brought the Warriors’ lead up to 12, 67-55, with 1:55 to go.

Butohan finished with 18 points, Garciano Puerto scored 12 and Dacalos chipped in with 11 for the Webmasters, who dropped to 2-3.  

In the juniors division, the USC Baby Warriors stayed unbeaten with a 95-78 rout of the University of Southern Philippines Foundation Baby Panthers. The win was USC’s fourth in as many games while USPF fell to 3-2.

Hulking center Briedyn Smith punished USPF’s interior defense with 20 points and nine boards while Alje Mendez had a double-double of 17 points and 10 rebounds. Ken Gato had 13 points.

The scores:


USC (67) - Olago 22, Pepito 13, Ortega 9, Tagapan 7, Magat 5, Rabat 5, Suarez 4, Laguyo 2, Maconocido 0, Adlawan 0, Lim 0.

UC (62) - Butohan 18, Dacalos 12, Puerto 11, Codilla 8, Jabello 7, Suelto 5, Mayol 3, Culango 0, Dumat-ol 0, Tagudin 0, Luzares 0.

Quarterscores: 16-10; 30-22; 52-46; 67-62.



USC (95) - Smith 20, Mendez 18, Gato 13, Laurente 11, Chavez 8, Canieso 6, Pakanna 4, Macandog 4, Mendoza 3, Fontanosa 2, Mangaron 2, Damolo 2, Octaviano 2, Bande 0, Ranuco 0.

USPF (78) - Hernando 20, Obenza 17, Cometa 12, Macalam 8, Archival 8, Peligrino 4, Ybañez 4, Justol 3, Lequin 2, Soon 0, Fermin 0, Tajo 0, Urot 0, Sandoval 0.

Quarterscores: 23-17; 41-41; 63-60; 95-78.


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