CEBU CITY - The Phinma-Southwestern University Cobras ousted the Cebu Landmasters-University of San Carlos Warriors from semifinal contention with an 82-76 win at the end of the elimination round of the 8th Cesafi Partner’s Cup on Thursday at the Cebu Coliseum.
Two-time Cesafi MVP Mac Tallo exploded for 32 points and seven rebounds, capped by several clutch buckets that kept the Warriors at bay until the final buzzer.
Prized rookie Shaquille Imperial added 17 markers while reinforcement Quintin Nzuzi controlled the lane with 10 boards in his return to Cebu after playing for the University of San Jose-Recoletos a few years ago.
SWU trailed by 10 in the first half but turned it around in the third, with Tallo scoring seven straight to put the Cobras ahead, 42-40. They pushed their lead to a high of 11, 68-57, but the Warriors crawled to within four, 66-70, behind rookie big man Conrad Catapusan and veteran wingman Ian Ortega.
However, Jun Luz completed a three-point play before Imperial and Tallo came up with dagger baskets to seal the win.
SWU finished with a 5-1 (win-loss) record, good for the second seeding in the semifinals that starts Saturday.
On the other hand, reigning Cesafi champs USC ended up tied with the University of Cebu Webmasters at 2-4. However, the Webmasters claimed the final ticket to the semis with their 77-74 win over the Warriors in the elimination round.
Ortega scored 18 to lead the Warriors, while Catapusan and fellow big man Dolan Adlawan had 10 each.