CEBU CITY — Southwestern University held University of San Carlos to just nine points in the fourth period to come away with a 68-54 victory on Sunday in the 16th Cesafi men’s basketball tournament at the Cebu Coliseum.
The Cobras raised their lead from two points to 13, 61-48, on a sizzling 14-3 blast that saw contributions from Mac Tallo, returning Congolese import Quintin Nzuzi and rookies Shaquille Imperial and Arnel Molina.
Nzuzi, who played for the University of San Jose-Recoletos a few years ago, had 12 points and five rebounds, Tallo had 11 markers, four rebounds and four assists while Molina and Imperial added 10 apiece in a balanced offensive attack.
Befuddled for the first three periods by USC’s defense, SWU took control in the fourth starting with a baseline jumper by Bernie Bregondo, transition baskets by Tallo and Imperial and a lay-up by Nzuzi off a gorgeous drop pass from Imperial.
Victor Rabat paced the defending champions with 11, the only Warrior to reach double figures.
USC has had a tough offseason after claiming the title, losing MVP Shooster Olago, head coach Britt Reroma along with a slew of key players.
SWU 68 - Nzuzi 12, Tallo 11, Molina 10, Imperial 10, Bravo 6, Ortega 6, Bregondo 5, Polican 3, Luz 3, Barte 2.
USC 54 - Rabat 11, Oleodo 9, Catapusan 8, Tagapan 6, Laguyo 6, Ntumba 4, Aslam 4, Ecarma 3, Tubiano 2, Adlawan 1.
Quarterscores: 15-10; 29-25; 47-45; 68-54.