CEBU CITY - Southwestern University again got the better of University of the Visayas, 82-78, to clinch the Southern Islands title of the 2012 Philippine Collegiate Champions League (PCCL) on Thursday night at the Cebu Coliseum.
The thrilling win earned for the Cobras the right to play in the tournament Final Four where they will join reigning UAAP champion Ateneo and NCAA counterpart San Beda.
The remaining semis slot is still being disputed by Metro Manila entries.
It was another heartbreaker loss for the Green Lancers, who also lost to the Cobras in the deciding Game Five of the Cebu Schools Athletic Foundation Inc (Cesafi) Finals after losing grip of a commanding 18-point lead in the final seven minutes.
The Lancers rallied from a 10-26 deficit early on and led, 78-75 on a three-pointer by Phil Mercader with 1:39 to go.
Then the roof caved in for UV.
Wowie Escosio, the first Rookie-MVP of the Cesafi, committed a huge blunder when he was slapped with his fifth and final foul for a delay of game violation.
SWU’s Monbert Arong converted the corresponding foul shot, before Melvin Dedace hit a mid-range jumper to tie the match at 78-all.
Turnovers then marred the Lancers’ next two possessions, which the Cobras’ pounced on. Junrey Ortuyo split his charities to give SWU the lead for good, 79-78, before a Jerome Silva error at the other end led to two more charities for Joseph Nalos as the reigning Cesafi champion stretched the lead to 81-78 with 25.1 seconds to go.
The Lancers’ final attempt to force overtime went begging as Franz Arong missed on a three-pointer.
Ortuyo scored the marginal basket following another split from the foul line.
Cameroonian Ben Mbala paced SWU with 21 points, while Nalos came up big with 19 markers.
Arong finished with 14 points while battling cramps in the payoff period.
John Abad led UV with 22, while Mercader had 18.