UV Green Lancers blow 21-point lead but recover to beat UC Webmasters
Monic Soliva and the Green Lancers tighten their grip on teh lead with their seventh win in eight games. Ron Tolin

CEBU CITY — University of the Visayas squandered a 21-point lead but stood tall in the end behind clutch makes from Rey Suerte and Monic Soliva to pull off a 65-62 squeaker on Sunday in the 17th Cesafi basketball tournament at the Cebu Coliseum.

The defending champions improved their win-loss record to 7-1, with Jerome Napao posting a double-double of 14 points and 10 rebounds, with four assists and two steals.

Soliva finished with 10 points and seven rebounds, capped his night off with a short jumper that gave the Lancers a 63-60 lead with 24.1 seconds to go.

UV started strong and surged to a 21-point lead, 29-8, after three straight triples from Napao and Josue Segumpan. But UC kept on chipping away at UV’s lead, eventually overtaking them, 45-44, behind a 14-2 third period rally punctuated by a transition lay-up by Cameroonian big man Frederick Elombi.

UC kept on pushing the tempo and even raised the lead to five, 53-48, with 6:42 remaining. But the battle-tested Green Lancers were unfazed as Suerte put his team back in front, 59-57, with a free-throw and a floater while getting fouled.

Suerte missed the bonus free-throw but Soliva grabbed the offensive board and put it back in for a 61-57 UV lead with 1:18 remaining.

UC retaliated with an and-one from Elombi but Soliva answered with another bucket for a 63-60 Green Lancers advantage, time down to 24.1 seconds.

UC crept to 62-63 after two made free-throws by Peter Codilla and UV guard Sheldon split his charities to put his team up by two, 64-62.

The Webmasters then squandered their final chance to tie or take the lead as Justine Dacalos missed badly on his drive and the Green Lancers closed the game out with a free-throw from Jayson Balabag with 3.8 ticks left.

Elombi led UC with 22 points and 10 boards before fouling out with less than a minute left. UC dropped to 4-4 and remained in fourth place.

The scores:

UV 65 — Napao 14, Soliva 10, Gahi 9, Suerte 9, Sackour 9, Segumpan 7, Albina 6, Balabag 1.

UC 62 — Elombi 22, Dacalos 11, Puerto 10, Jabello 8, dela Cruz 7, Gonzaga 2, Codilla 2.

Quarterscores: 20-8; 36-28; 44-45; 65-62.




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