CEBU CITY – In the first half of Game Four of the Cesafi finals, University of Visayas big man Steve Cedrick Akomo was nowhere to be found, figuratively speaking.
He may have been out on the floor but instances where the Green Lancers standout missed out on a rebound that was right in front of him or got beat for a loose ball gave the impression his head was not truly in the game.
Or so everybody thought.
“That’s what I wanted them (University of San Carlos Warriors) to think. In fact, that’s what everybody was thinking, ‘What is wrong with Steve today?’” shared Akomo immediately after the game.
By then, the Warriors looked on their way to delivering their school;s first-ever Cesafi title as they seized a 30-22 lead at halftime, a lead built on five three-pointers, three coming from wingman Victor Rabat.
However, the second half proved an entirely different story altogether as the Lancers hit their stride and scored 11 unanswered points at the onset to turn the game around.
And when USC stalwart Shooster Olago picked up his third personal foul in the third canto, Akomo saw that as the cue to finally take over.
“I knew it was time, it was time for me to be more aggressive and assertive,” UV’s longtime Cameroonian reinforcement said.
With the fire lit, Akomo relentlessly punctured the USC defense with pinpoint passes to shooters and cutters and did damage himself, scoring six in the fourth including a rim-rattling tomahawk slam – the highlight of UV’s 13-0 start in the fourth that gave them a 54-44 lead.
The long-limbed Akomo also sank a keyhole jumper with 1:43 left that pushed their lead to eight, 58-50, and seal the series-tying victory for the Lancers.
“It was a dangerous game that I was playing but it paid off, didn’t it?” said Akomo later, an impish smile on his face.