CEBU CITY - Southwestern University finally figured out the puzzle that is University of the Visayas as it pulled off a rousing 77-72 win to gain the head start in the Finals of the 12th Cebu Schools Athletic Foundation (Cesafi) men’s basketball tournament on Tuesday night at the Cebu Coliseum.
The Cobras used their speed and accurate outside shooting to break the game wide open, before they leaned on Cameroonian import Justin Aboude to survive a furious endgame fightback by the defending champions.
After losing to the Green Lancers twice this season, the Cobras now find themselves leading the best-of-five title series, 1-0, pitting two schools with a colorful rivalry spanning over 40 years.
The loss was UV’s first in the tournament after nine straight wins.
“We now have the confidence. We now know that we can beat UV,” said veteran SWU coach Raul `Yayoy’ Alcoseba.
Bon Guillena, playing only in his third game this season for the Cobras, finished with a team-high 19 points, including eight in the fourth period, and nine rebounds.
Bernie Bregondo added 13 points before fouling out, while Aboude had 12 to make up for the dismal showing of compatriot Ben Mbala, who finished with just eight points. Joseph Nalos was the other SWU player in double figures with 10.
Alcoseba, however, is not about to celebrate yet, adding, “the championship is not won with just one game. We need two more.”
John Abad fired 17 points, finishing as the only player in double figures for the Green Lancers.
Wowie Escocio, adjudged earlier as the first Rookie of the Year to be named Most Valuable Player in the tournament, was a big letdown for UV as he came up with only nine points.
Escocio also earned a spot in the Mythical Five along with SWU’s Monbert Arong, Jerome Silva of UV, the University of San Jose-Recoletos’ Abulaiz Sulaiman, and Brian Heruela of University of Cebu.