CEBU CITY – The University of San Carlos Warriors remained unbeaten, but needed a miraculous shot from rookie John Reel Saycon to send the game into overtime where they eventually prevailed over the University of Cebu Webmasters, 67-62, in the 17th Cesafi men’s basketball tournament on Sunday night at the New Cebu Coliseum.
The Webmasters had the Warriors on their heels as they trailed, 56-58, after Justine Dacalos split his free-throws with 4.8 seconds left in the fourth.
But USC didn’t quit as the outlet pass ended up with Saycon, who caught it at the left wing, then eluded the defense of UC guard Joven Tagudin, before rising up and banking in a midrange jumper as time expired to knot the count at 58-all and force the extra five-minute session.
UC went up by four, 62-58, after consecutive baskets from Jhan Jabello but USC grabbed the upper hand, 63-62, after a triple by Lucky Ecarma, and later, a lay-in by Julius Cadavis that came off a gorgeous pocket pass from a pick and roll by Saycon, 1:10 to go.
A turnover by Dacalos with 36.3 ticks left led to two made free throws by Victor Rabat for a 65-62 lead. Dacalos then muffed the potential game-tying triple and Saycon put the game away with two more free-throws with 1.5 seconds left.
Ecarma and Kent Cabanog had 13 points each to lead the Warriors while Rabat added 10. Saycon finished with nine points, nine boards, four assists, three steals and a block to help put USC atop the standings with a clean 4-0 mark.
UC fell to 1-2, wasting the 17-point, 15-rebound, three-steal, two-block performance by Cameroonian forward Frederick Elombi.
USC (67) Cabañog 13, Ecarma 13, Rabat 10, Saycon 9, Araw-Araw 7, Aranas 4, Mangubat 3, Cadavis 2, Marata 2, Oleodo 2, Tan 1, Trangia 1.
UC (62) Elombi 17, Jabello 15, Dacalos 11, Codilla 9, Dela Cruz 3, Gonzaga 2, Puerto 2, Tagudin 2, Kishimoto 1.
Quarterscores: 15-9, 25-15, 37-39, 58-58, 67-62