CEBU CITY – The University of Cebu Baby Webmasters made their way to the juniors division finals for the first time in seven years after they slipped past the University of the Visayas Baby Lancers, 62-58, in the 15th Cesafi basketball tournament on Sunday afternoon at the Cebu Coliseum.
The victory was UC’s second in three games in the round-robin semis, assuring them of a top two finish and a spot in the best-of-three finals series opposite the unbeaten Sacred Heart School-Ateneo de Cebu Magis Eagles.
Earlier in the day, the Magis Eagles completed a sweep of the semis with a 57-54 victory over the University of San Carlos Baby Warriors. Patrick Yu helped push Ateneo de Cebu’s winning streak this season to 11 games with 10 points, eight coming in the final frame to stymie the Baby Warriors’ comeback.
But the day belonged to UC, a team that has not seen the finals since 2008. Incidentally, that was also the last time they hoisted the crown behind the exploits of current Far Eastern University forward Roger Pogoy.
Down 29-21 in the second quarter, the Baby Webmasters crawled their way back into the game to tie the match at 46-all heading to the final frame. They eventually took their first lead, 49-48, after a basket by Froilan Mangubat early in the fourth.
Still, UV was a tough nut to crack as they once again rode the heroics of talented forward Jancork Cabahug, whose lay-up tied the match for the final time at 55-all.
With their title hopes hanging in the balance, Jason Abejo stepped up to the plate and scored one pivotal basket after another, with his putback with just 15 seconds left dashing the hopes of UV, 62-57.
Luigi Gabisan had a double-double of 18 points and 14 rebounds for the Baby Webmasters while Mangubat and Abejo added 14 and 11, respectively.
Cabahug cashed in 34 points and 14 rebounds but again did not get enough support from the rest of his squad.
UC (62) - Gabisan 18, Mangubat 14, Abejo 11, Umpad 8, Labrada 5, Cuyos 4, Ecal 2, Hemida 2, Soco 0, Malubay 0, Florita 0.
UV (58) - Cabahug 34, Ro. Alforque 7, Laurente 5, Oche 4, Yerro 4, Paraldo 3, Amistoso 0, Balazuela 0, Ra. Alforque 0, Maglasang 0, Membrano 0, Saliot 0.
Quarterscores: 11-11; 25-31; 46-46; 62-58.
SHS-AdC (57) - P. Yu 10, Pastor 9, Bersaluna 8, Chua 8, Velasco 6, Colonia 4, Mantua 3, Manaytay 2, Calumpang 2, J. Yu 2, Visser 1, Javelosa 0.
USC (54) - Mangaron 9, Mendez 9, Chavez 8, Pakanna 8, Mendoza 7, Laurente 7, Damolo 2, Bande 2, Fontanosa 2, Gato 0, Macandog 0, Canieso 0, Smith 0, Ranuco 0, Octaviano 0.
Quarterscores: 13-10; 29-28; 41-48; 57-54.