CEBU CITY – The University of the Visayas Baby Lancers grounded Sacred Heart School-Ateneo de Cebu Magis Eagles down the stretch to come away with a 72-65 win in Game 2, sweeping the finals series and becoming the new champions in the high school division of the 17th Cesafi basketball tournament on Thursday at the Cebu Coliseum.
The Baby Lancers got their backs against the wall after losing a 13-point third period lead and two of their best players – forward JJ Rosete and skipper Jim Paul Amistoso –fouling out. Yet they found salvation in the clutch shotmaking of wingman Froiland Maglasang and high-leaping forward Joshua Yerro to keep the Magis Eagles at bay and earn the huge victory that snapped their rivals’ four-year run at the top.
The win also completed a clean sweep of the season as UV went 11-0, including a 9-game run through the elimination round.
Maglasang finished with a team-high 15 points to go with five assists and three steals, while Rosete bounced back from a horrendous Game 1 and put up 14 points. Beirn Laurente, the stocky guard from Palompon, Leyte, had 11 points and was later named as the league’s MVP.
He also earned a spot on the Mythical Five alongside Ateneo de Cebu’s Patrick Yu and Christian Manaytay, the University of San Jose-Recoletos’ Dave Ando and the University of Cebu’s Virlou Orquez.
After trailing by five early in the game, the Baby Lancers found their bearings and grabbed the upper hand with nine straight points at the start of the third to build a 38-25 lead. The Magis Eagles fought back by scoring 11 unanswered points to trim the deficit to two, before the Baby Lancers settled for a 51-44 advantage heading to the penultimate chapter.
Ateneo de Cebu came out hot in the fourth and seized the upper hand, 54-53, with a 10-2 blast sparked by former La Salle Zobel guard Franz Diaz who scored eight straight.
However, that proved to be the last time the Magis Eagles held the lead as the Baby Lancers responded with a triple by Maglasang, a free-throw by Yerro and a transition bucket by Jhiey Paraldo to nudge ahead, 59-54.
The Magis Eagles closed to within three but UV held their ground and went up by eight after five straight free-throws by Maglasang, Yerro and Paraldo for a 66-58 advantage, 2:46 left.
The game later became a free-throw shooting contest down the stretch but UV proved steadier from the line, making three straight to emerge victorious.
Big man Alex Visser scored 14 points and pulled down 11 rebounds to pace the boys in blue while Diaz and Yu finished with 13 apiece. The Magis Eagles however, missed the usual production of one-time Batang Gilas guard Jed Colonia and Manaytay, who combined for just 10 points on 4-of-16 shooting. Manaytay was especially absent for most of the game, hobbled by foul trouble.
UV (72) Maglasang 15, Rosete 14, Laurente 11, Paraldo 9, Yerro 7, Omandac 7, Jelianggao 5, Amistoso 4
SHS-AdC (65) Visser 14, Diaz 13, Yu 13, Tuadles 7, Colonia 7, Yu B. 4, Cutamora 4, Manaytay 3, Javelosa 2
Quarterscores: 10-15; 29-25, 51-44; 72-65