UV Lancers rally in second half to beat USC Warriors and force deciding match in Cesafi finals
Steve Akomo comes up with a double-double to power UV to victory. Ron Tolin

CEBU CITY — University of the Visayas turned the tables on University of San Carlos in the second half to win Game Four, 60-52, on Saturday at the Cebu Coliseum and send the Cesafi men’s basketball finals to decider.

Cameroonian big man Steve Akomo scored 14 points, pulled down 16 rebounds and blocked two shots, while anchoring the UV defense that frustrated his USC counterpart Shooster Olago, who ended up with just seven points on three-of-nine shooting.

Behind, 22-30, at the turn, the Green Lancers came out of the dugout a different squad and uncorked an 11-0 blast behind Jun Manzo, who scored six in a sizzling stretch capped by a triple by Franz Arong that put them ahead, 33-30.

The Warriors, looking to finally bag a title after 15 years in the league, regained their bearings to seize the lead back, 44-41, after two straight buckets from Charles Pepito that came off beautiful pocket passes from Kiefer Lim at the end of the third period.

UV, however, was relentless and started the fourth with a 13-0 run sparked by a driving lay-in by Leonard Santillan. Disaster also struck not long after for USC as Olago was called for his fourth foul with 8:32 to go.

This opened the lane for Akomo who quickly took advantage by scoring two straight buckets punctuated by a one-handed slam off a gorgeous drop pass by Arong.

Santillan added a transition lay-up and a left-handed scoop shot to give the Green Lancers a 54-44 lead, 5:34 to go.

Arong finished with 11 points while Santillan, who missed the first two games of the series due to an ankle injury, added 10.

Manzo, who came into Game Four averaging 22 points per game, finished with just seven.

“I just told them to continue limiting (Shooster) Olago and (Ian) Tagapan. I also told them to continue to aggressively close out on their shooters who were making their shots in the first half,” said UV coach Gary Cortes.

Rabat and Pepito each had 11 for the Warriors, who for the second straight year be going to a winner-take-all Game Five.

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