CEBU CITY – University of Cebu pulled off a huge 82-75 upset over defending champion Southwestern University to keep its semifinals hopes alive in the 15th Cesafi men’s basketball tournament on Saturday night at the Cebu Coliseum.
The Webmasters improved to a 4-6 record, tying them at fourth place with the University of San Jose-Recoletos Jaguars, while keeping within striking distance of Cebu Institute of Technology-University (5-7).
UC waxed hot from beyond the arc and led by as much as 20 points before holding its ground down the stretch to clinch the crucial win.
The Webmasters raced to a 64-44 lead at the midway point of the third after Daniel Mayol sank the team’s 11th triple.
In all, UC made 12 for the game.
But SWU did not just roll over and die as the reigning champ scored 16 straight points capped by a three by Anton Pardo and a putback by Mac Racho to trim the deficit to just four heading to the final frame.
But the Webmasters kept their composure and remained in front, 75-67, after another triple and lay-up by Daniel Mayol. The Cobras though, kept on coming and sliced the deficit in half behind the relentless play of two-time league MVP Macmac Tallo, who crashed the offensive boards for two straight stickbacks.
SWU had several chances to come closer but guard John Lloyd Luz committed one blunder after another – a missed triple, a travelling violation, and a bad pass – the last of which proved costly as it led to a lay-up by Jan Jabello for a 77-71 UC lead in the final 1:58.
Fil Culango and Justine Dacalos then sealed the win with free-throws and a floater, respectively.
Clint Suelto paced UC with 17 points, three rebounds, two assists. and two steals to spoil Tallo’s incredible 30-point, 17-rebound, five-assist, three-steal night.
The Cobras, who played without rookie sensation Juju Bautista, lost for the second straight time and fell to 7-4.
Bautista was sat out for violating team regulations.
The Webmasters now need to hurdle two tough opponents in their last final games in the eliminations - USJ-R and league-leading University of San Carlos – for a shot at a Final Four berth.
The Jaguars final two games will pit them against the Webmasters and the winless University of Southern Philippines Foundation Panthers.
UC (82) -- Suelto 17, Montilla 11, Dacalos 11, Mayol 8, Butohan 8, Puerto 8, Culango 7, Jabello 6, Tagudin 6, Santander 0, Codilla 0, Grafilo 0, Dumat-ol 0.
SWU (75) -- Tallo 30, Auditor 16, Pardo 8, Racho 7, Luz 6, Holper 5, Gonzaga 3, Clam 0.
Quarterscores: 20-16; 46-35; 64-60; 82-75.