CEBU CITY — University of the Visayas squandered a 21-point lead but stood tall in the end behind clutch makes from Rey Suerte and Monic Soliva to pull off a 65-62 squeaker on Sunday in the 17th Cesafi basketball tournament at the Cebu Coliseum.
The defending champions improved their win-loss record to 7-1, with Jerome Napao posting a double-double of 14 points and 10 rebounds, with four assists and two steals.
Soliva finished with 10 points and seven rebounds, capped his night off with a short jumper that gave the Lancers a 63-60 lead with 24.1 seconds to go.
UV started strong and surged to a 21-point lead, 29-8, after three straight triples from Napao and Josue Segumpan. But UC kept on chipping away at UV’s lead, eventually overtaking them, 45-44, behind a 14-2 third period rally punctuated by a transition lay-up by Cameroonian big man Frederick Elombi.
UC kept on pushing the tempo and even raised the lead to five, 53-48, with 6:42 remaining. But the battle-tested Green Lancers were unfazed as Suerte put his team back in front, 59-57, with a free-throw and a floater while getting fouled.
Suerte missed the bonus free-throw but Soliva grabbed the offensive board and put it back in for a 61-57 UV lead with 1:18 remaining.
UC retaliated with an and-one from Elombi but Soliva answered with another bucket for a 63-60 Green Lancers advantage, time down to 24.1 seconds.
UC crept to 62-63 after two made free-throws by Peter Codilla and UV guard Sheldon split his charities to put his team up by two, 64-62.
The Webmasters then squandered their final chance to tie or take the lead as Justine Dacalos missed badly on his drive and the Green Lancers closed the game out with a free-throw from Jayson Balabag with 3.8 ticks left.
Elombi led UC with 22 points and 10 boards before fouling out with less than a minute left. UC dropped to 4-4 and remained in fourth place.
UV 65 — Napao 14, Soliva 10, Gahi 9, Suerte 9, Sackour 9, Segumpan 7, Albina 6, Balabag 1.
UC 62 — Elombi 22, Dacalos 11, Puerto 10, Jabello 8, dela Cruz 7, Gonzaga 2, Codilla 2.
Quarterscores: 20-8; 36-28; 44-45; 65-62.