CEBU CITY – Diminutive guard Jelmart Umpad fell an assist short of a triple-double as University of Cebu stunned second-seed University of San Carlos in the semifinals of the juniors division of the 15th Cesafi basketball tournament on Thursday at the Cebu Coliseum.
The stocky yet speedy Umpad piled up 12 points, an astounding 10 rebounds, nine assists, and added six steals for good measure in a performance that enhanced the Baby Webmasters’ chance of making the championship round.
But while Umpad’s all-around effort sparked the team’s comeback from an early 8-17 deficit, it was Froilan Mangubat who pushed UC on top as the lanky forward scored 28 points spiked by seven three-pointers, the last one of which doused cold water on the Baby Warriors’ fourth quarter rally that saw them threatened at 66-69.
Luigi Gabisan, who had a double-double of 10 points and 10 boards, added a lay-in later on while Mangubat calmly knocked down two free-throws to seal the victory for UC.
Jason Abejo also tallied 16 points for the Baby Webmasters who are aiming to make it to the finals for the first time since 2008.
Incidentally, that same year marked the last time they won the crown with a team bannered by current Far Eastern University forward Roger Pogoy.
Alje Mendez paced USC with 15 points, while Ken Gato pitched in 14.
The Baby Warriors’ massive center Briedyn Smith though, was a non-factor with just four markers.
UC (76) -- Mangubat 28, Abejo 16, Umpad 12, Gabisan 10, Cuyos 7, Soco 2, Labrada 1, Florita 0, Ecal 0, Santome 0, Hemida 0, Pando 0.
USC (66) -- Mendez 15, Gato 14, Pakanna 8, Laurente 6, Chavez 4, Smith 4, Fontanosa 3, Bande 3, Mendoza 2, Ranuco 2, Mangaron 2, Damolo 0, Canieso 0, Macandog 0, Octaviano 0.
Quarterscores: 8-17; 30-26; 55-47; 76-66.