CEBU CITY – Senior swingman Ian Ortega hit the go-ahead three-pointer with nine seconds remaining as Southwestern University-Phinma Cobras clipped bitter rivals University of the Visayas Green Lancers, 70-67, in the 16th Cesafi men’s basketball tournament on Saturday night at the Cebu Coliseum.
The Cobras got off to a sluggish start and trailed by as much as 19, 15-34, early in the second period. Their finish however, was a different story as Ortega caught the pass off a mad loose ball scramble, squared up and hit a three-pointer that put SWU in front for good, 68-67, with nine seconds remaining.
The rainbow shot capped Ortega’s incredible evening, which saw him score 20 points, highlighted by four three-pointers. Two-time league MVP Macmac Tallo managed 10 points and five assists in spite of the tremendous defensive pressure put on him all game long.
The win gave the Cobras a sweep of the elimination round which they finished with a perfect 12-0 record while the Green Lancers dropped to third in the standings after suffering their fourth loss in 11 outings.
SWU appeared to have put the win in the bag as they led, 65-61, after Tallo made a booming triple from the right flank with 2:15 to go. But UV fought back and took the lead, 67-65, behind six unanswered points capped by a triple by skipper Josue Segumpan from the corner, with just 38.4 ticks remaining.
On the Cobras’ ensuing offensive, the ball was poked loose and eventually ended up in Ortega’s hands leading to his heroic shot.
The Lancers had a shot at taking back the lead but threw the ball away on an alley-oop play for Rey Suerte. Tallo then sealed the win with two from the line.
Suerte led UV in scoring with 16 while Liberian forward Bassiere Sackor had 11 markers and 12 rebounds. Segumpan finished with 10.
SWU-PHINMA (70) - Ortega 20, Tallo 10, Imperial 8, Polican 8, Luz 6, Bravo 4, Nzuzi 4, Bregondo 4, Racho 4, Barte 2, Molina 0.
UV (67) - Suerte 16, Sackor 11, Segumpan 10, Codilla 9, Napao 8, Albina 3, Soliva 4, Balabag 4, Gahi 2.
Quarter Scores: 13-22; 32-42; 51-51; 70-67.