SOUTHWESTERN University survived a late fightback by University of the Visayas and pulled off a 64-52 win in Game One of the 13th Cesafi men’s basketball tournament finals on Tuesday at the Cebu Coliseum.
Reserve forward Daryl Goloran and Cameroonian import Landry Sanjo led SWU in scoring, but fouled out early and the Cobras pulled off the victory with crucial baskets from Bernie Bregondo, Monbert Arong and Mark Jayven Tallo.
Goloran came up with 13 points and eight rebounds, while Sanjo had a double-double of 10 points and 14 boards, along with four blocks as SWU drew first blood in the best-of-five title series.
With their high-octane offense bogged down by UV’s deliberate pace and with Goloran and Sanjo fouling out with less than five minutes to play, Bregondo, Arong and Tallo took charge.
SWU led by as many as 13 points in the third period but UV fought back with a 13-5 run sparked by Miko Marquez that got them within five, 49-54.
But the Cobras kept their focus as Bregondo scored on a putback, while Tallo found a cutting Arong who scored while getting fouled for a three-point play and a 59-49 lead with 1:08 left.
Tallo hammered the final nails in UV’s coffin on their next possessions as he dropped a dime on Siewe for an easy bucket and then hit a long three-pointer to push the lead to 15. Marquez hit a three-pointer for the final tally.
Tallo struggled for most of the match and committed eight turnovers to go with his eight points, seven assists and six rebounds.
“We really had to solve the double-teams that they were throwing at (Mark Jayven) Tallo. At first, he kept on forcing the issue but I told him to stay at it and find the open man. Fortunately for us, he did it in the end and we got the win,” said SWU coach Yayoy Alcoseba.
Mike Nzuesseu and Wowie Escosio had 12 points apiece, while Marquez wound up with 10. Starting UV point guard John Abad had a measly four points.
Game Two of the series is set Thursday.