CEBU CITY – The University of San Carlos Warriors evened the Cesafi men’s basketball finals at 1-1 after a 53-46 victory over the Southwestern University Cobras on Tuesday night at the Cebu Coliseum.
The Warriors were ruthless on defense, holding down the league’s highest-scoring team to its lowest output of the season and reigning league MVP Mark Jayven Tallo scoreless on 0-for-9 shooting from the field.
Cameroonian Shooster Olago scored 17 points, grabbed eight rebounds and added two assists, two steals and a block, and anchored USC’s suffocating defense that held SWU’s best player, Landry Sanjo, to just 13 points – a far cry from his 22-point average this season.
Sanjo was also effectively kept off the boards and finished with just four rebounds, his lowest total in his two years of playing for the Cobras. Worse, the 6-foot-7 star committed a whopping 11 turnovers.
The Cobras were only within two, 40-42, after a baseline jumper by Jasper Parker and a floater by Game One hero Jovanie Luz but the Warriors quickly built the lead back to nine, 49-40, after a lay-up by Charles Pepito off a touch pass by Ian Bensig, a thunderous slam-dunk by Olago after he stripped the ball away from Sanjo and a three-pointer by Kiefer Lim from straightaway, with 4:24 to go.
The Cobras waved the white flag a minute later and Olago punctuated the win with a two-handed slam with 11 ticks left.
Toyambi, the Warriors' other import, and Lim, a former Team B member of the Ateneo Blue Eagles, scored eight apiece to help the Warriors score their first win in the Cesafi finals since Game Four of the 2007 championship series against University of the Visayas.
Game Three is slated on Thursday at 6:30 p.m.
USC (53) - Olago 17, Lim 8, Toyambi 8, Rabat 6, Tagapan 4, Laguyo 3, Laude 3, Magat 2, Pepito 2, Malana 0, Asuncion 0, Bensig 0, Ecarma 0.
SWU (46) - Sanjo 16, Mohammed 10, Parker 8, Luz 5, Valdor 5, Bregondo 2, Tallo 0, Goloran 0, Holper 0, Lagbas 0, Pardo 0, Racho 0, Labitad 0.
Quarterscores: 17-5; 28-19; 39-36; 53-46.