CEBU CITY – The University of the Visayas Green Lancers took a step closer toward a return trip to the finals by defeating the University of San Jose-Recoletos Jaguars, 75-68, in the semifinals of the 16th Cesafi men’s basketball competition on Saturday night at the Cebu Coliseum.
Versatile wingman Rey Suerte was UV’s high-point man with 17 points, including a crucial putback that stopped the Jaguars comeback cold with 2:15 remaining.
The Davao native added five rebounds and four steals to fuel the Lancers’ drive to make it back to the finals after losing last year to the University of San Carlos Warriors.
Ranged against a visibly-exhausted USJ-R squad that was playing its third game in as many nights, UV took full advantage and ran the rock at every available opportunity to build a 22-point lead, 67-45, a minute into the fourth.
But the Jaguars rallied behind RJ Dinolan and big man Nelvin Navarra, who made two free throws to pull them within seven, 63-70, with 2:38 remaining.
However, on UV’s next possession, the Jaguars lost track of Suerte who grabbed a miss and put it back in to give the Lancers a 72-65 cushion and effectively take the wind out of USJ-R’s sails.
Alfred Codilla added 14 points for the Lancers even as Monic Soliva punched in a double-double of 12 points and 11 rebounds.
Dinolan and Navarra scored 19 apiece to pace the Jaguars.
UV Green Lancers (75) - Suerte 17, Codilla 14, Soliva 12, Albina 9, Sackor 9, Segumpan 6, Balabag 4, Gahi 2.
USJ-R Jaguars (68) - Dinolan 19, Navarra 19, Catiloc 7, Peromingan 7, Mantilla 6, Sealana 4, Nunez 3, Gastador 2, Jopia 1.