CEBU CITY – The University of the Visayas Green Lancers pounced on a tired, undermanned Southwestern University Cobras, holding them to 16 points in the entire second half en route to pulling off a 57-48 victory in the 15th Cebu Schools Athletic Foundation Inc. (Cesafi) men’s basketball tournament on Thursday night at the Cebu Coliseum.
The win was the Lancers’ fifth against a lone loss, good enough for solo second place right behind the unbeaten University of San Carlos Warriors who are at 6-0. The Cobras on the other hand, fell to 3-2 win-loss with one more game left to go in their first-round campaign.
With SWU’s tallest frontcourt player standing just 6-foot-3, UV’s 6-foot-8 Cameroonian reinforcement Steve Akomo had a field day and had 15 points, 17 rebounds and three blocked shots, all while anchoring a stingy UV defense that limited the Cobras to just six points in the third quarter.
Sophomore guard Jun Manzo scored 10 of his 11 markers during that telling second half surge. He added three assists and two boards for the Lancers, whose rugged man-to-man defense on SWU’s lead guard Mac Tallo threw off the normally-fluid Cobras offense into chaos, forcing SWU’s sentinels into hurried shots and careless passes that were easily picked off by the Lancers.
So confused was SWU that nobody managed to score in double figures. Jan Auditor and Anton Pardo each had eight to pace the nine-man Cobras while Tallo, the league’s two-time MVP, was held down to just seven.
It didn’t look that way early as the Cobras went on a 12-2 run behind triples by Melvin Holper and transition baskets by Tallo to end the second on top, 32-24. But the Lancers tightened the screws on defense and rode the hot shooting of Akomo who punctuated his nine-point binge in the third with a huge slam for a 45-38 lead heading to the final frame.
Akomo continued his rampage in the fourth as his turnaround jumper gave the Lancers a 52-42 lead, 3:55 left. The Cobras dared to make a run behind six straight points by Auditor to pull to within 48-54, 1:46 remaining but Akomo shut the door with short jumper to up their lead to eight.
In the juniors division, the University of San Jose-Recoletos Baby Jaguars improved their record to 3-2 with a close 59-55 win over the Cebu Eastern College Dragons. CEC fell to 1-4./Correspondent Jonas Panerio
UV (57) - Akomo 15, Manzo 10, Suerte 8, Codilla 7, Balabag 6, Cabañero 5, Santillan 2, Aguirre 2, Napao 1, Veloso 1, Arong 0, Macion 0, Mendoza 0, Segumpan 0.
SWU (48) -- Pardo 8, Auditor 8, Tallo 7, Luz 6, Racho 6, Holper 6, Bautista 5, Gonzaga 2, Clam 0.
Quarterscores: 16-14; 24-32; 45-38; 57-48.
USJ-R (59) - Gonzaga 17, Enriquez 12, Ortiz 12, Ibero 6, Ando 5, Teleron 4, Dela Cruz 3, Camacho 0.
CEC (55) -- Galarse 13, Tempra 11, Leopoldo 11, A. Roa 8, Astillero 4, Orillaneda 2, Tecson 2, M. Casio 2, Tiu 2, Canoy 0, Guillemer 0.
Quarterscores: 8-17; 30-29; 48-41; 59-55.