CEBU CITY - The University of the Visayas Green Lancers pulled away late in the third period to take down the defending champions University of San Carlos Warriors, 76-60, and take a 1-0 series lead in the 16th Cesafi men’s basketball finals on Saturday at the Cebu Coliseum.
The Green Lancers were trailing the Warriors until late in the third, when they rallied after Liberian big man Bassiere Sackour, was called for his fourth personal foul.
That apparently lit a fire from under them as they went on to score 13 unanswered points before completely dominating the fourth behind the hot shooting of wingmen Rey Suerte and Toto Segumpan to take the opener of the best-of-five championship series.
The Warriors actually led, 47-45, after USC’s Congolese big man Scotty Ntumba scored inside while getting fouled by Sackour with 4:55 to go in the third.
But the Green Lancers regained their composure and got going behind the Davao native Suerte, who sparked a 13-0 blast with an and-one, a split from the line and later, a three-pointer that eventually gave UV a 58-49 lead heading to the fourth.
The Green Lancers continued their push and led 63-49 after a putback by Monic Soliva and a triple by Segumpan. The Warriors trimmed it down to 10 but the Green Lancers pulled away for good with nine straight points capped by a fastbreak lay-up by Jayson Balabag that gave them their largest lead of the game at 72-53, 2:54 left in the game.
“I just told them to play their game, to compose themselves and keep on playing our style of play even if our import, (Bassiere) Sackour was sitting on the bench,” said UV head coach Gary Cortes after the game.
The veteran Soliva had a big game as he scored 18 points, pulled down 10 rebounds, had two steals and two blocks. Suerte finished with 13 while veteran guard Alfred Codilla added 12.
USC got 12 from Ian Tagapan while Kevin Oleodo and Clint Munez had 11 each.
UV (76) Soliva 18, Suerte 13, Codilla 12, Albina 9, Gahi 7, Sackour 6, Segumpan 5, Balabag 4, Macion 2
USC (60) Tagapan 12, Oleodo 11, Munez 11, Rabat 7, Tan 6, Divinagracia 5, Ntumba 4, Catapusan, Laguyo 2
Quarterscores: 19-12, 37-37, 58-49, 76-60