While the Webmasters flourished under the guidance of a new face on the sidelines in local legend Yayoy Alcoseba – who ironically, was SWU-Phinma’s head coach for the last five seasons – the Cobras struggled to find their footing without their former heart and soul, Macmac Tallo, who was cheering on the sidelines after deciding to forego his final year of eligibility to play in the PBA D-League.
UC took full advantage of SWU’s sluggishness to post a 26-17 lead at halftime. Though SWU-Phinma fought back to within one, 31-32, the Webmasters responded with seven straight capped by a triple by Joven Tagudin to raise the lead back to eight, 39-31.
The lead rose to 10 on several occasions in the fourth but the Cobras kept within striking distance, 47-53, after a bucket by William Polican, time down to under two minutes.
The Webmasters then shut the door on their opponents as Michael Gonzaga scored in transition, Cameroonian forward Frederick Elombi added a deuce inside and Tagudin swished in a floater for a 59-47 lead with just seconds remaining.
Peter Codilla led the Webmasters with 14 points, five boards and two steals, while playing spirited defense on SWU’s main big man Reeve Ugsang, holding the latter to just six points.
Gonzaga, JR Puerto and John Jabello had eight each in the low-scoring, defense-oriented affair.
Polican paced SWU-Phinma with 13 points but the Cobras got sub-par numbers from their vaunted backcourt of John Lloyd Luz and Shaquille Imperial.
SWU-Phinma earned a split as the Baby Cobras, stunned last year’ runners-up, the UC Baby Webmasters, 78-74, in the high school division.
UC was up by a matchstick, 70-69, when reserve guard Harvey Sanchez broke free for an unmolested lay-up to give SWU back the lead, 71-70. Then, Patrick Montano sank a dagger of a triple with 29.5 seconds to push the Baby Cobras’ lead up to four, 74-70.
Zareygel Rosano led SWU in scoring with 19 points while Montano finished with 18. Sanchez came off the bench and put in 16 while big man Matthew Flores added 13.
Virlou Orquez paced UC with 25 points.
UC (59) Codilla 14, Gonzaga 8, Puerto 8, Jabello 8, Elombi 7,Tagudin 5, Olmilla 4, Dacalos 3, Naong 2
SWU-Phinma (49) Polican 13, Bayhonan 6, Nazareno 6, Ugsang R. 6, Fernandez 5, Molina 3, Imperial 3, Racho 2, Bilao 2, delos Santos 2, Luz 1
Quarterscores: 15-9, 26-17, 40-35, 59-49