Big UV Baby Lancers fightback sends Cesafi juniors finals to deciding Game Three
JC Escalona atoned for a poor Game One performance by scoring 19 points, grabbing nine rebounds and getting two steals for UV. Photo courtesy of Ron Tolin

CEBU CITY – The University of the Visayas Baby Lancers sent the Cebu Schools Athletic Foundation Inc. (Cesafi) juniors finals series to a deciding Game Three after coming from behind to edge the Sacred Heart School-Ateneo de Cebu Magis Eagles, 59-56, on Thursday night at the Cebu Coliseum.

With the venue packed with blue-and-white clad Eagles supporters, the Baby Lancers stood defiant and spoiled the party with clutch shots from their backcourt pair of JC Escalona and Orlan Wamar.

After making just four of his 19 attempts in the series opener, Escalona broke out for 19 points, nine rebounds and two steals while Wamar finished with 15 points and three steals.

 Forward Theo Joshua Flores, who made just seven points in Game One, chipped in 17 points.

Ateneo de Cebu held a four-point cushion, 56-52, after Emilio Nacua hit a three-pointer with 2:15 remaining. But UV surged ahead, 57-56, after a free-throw by Flores, a pull-up jumper by JC Escalona and a strong drive by Orlan Wamar with 1:02 to go.

After an Eagles turnover, the rebound off Sam Schaub’s miss caromed back to Wamar, who was fouled and promptly hit two from the line for a 59-56 lead, 24.1 ticks left on the clock.

Ateneo de Cebu had three chances to pull within one or tie the game but Nino Araw-Araw and Pio Longa failed to connect on their three-point attempts while Joseph Mayol flubbed his putback try, allowing UV to force awinner-take-all Game Three.

Ateneo de Cebu’s scoring struggles continued as nobody reached double-figures. Sinclair finished with just eight points and was held to just seven rebounds after grabbing 19 last time out. Janjan Jaboneta battled foul trouble all game long and finished with just four points.

The scores:

UV (59) - Escalona 19, Flores 17, Wamar 15, Schaub 3, Cabahug 3, Morre 2, Alforque 0, Loreto 0, Verano 0, Zenarosa 0.

SHS-AdC (56) - Sinclair 8, Mayol 7, Velasco 7, Araw-Araw 6, Nacua 6, Co 6, Mantua 4, Longa 4, Jaboneta 4, Huang 3, Gaviola 1.

Quarterscores: 11-11; 31-26; 43-49; 59-56.

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