CEBU – Defending champion Southwestern University moved closer of retaining its Cebu Schools Athletic Foundation Inc (CESAFI) men’s basketball title after routing University of the Visayas, 73-60, in Game 2 of the Finals Thursday night at the Cebu Coliseum here.
The Cobras uncorked a telling 15-0 run in the third period to turn the game around and book the win that gave them a commanding 2-0 lead in the best-of-five series.
Overall, it was the fifth straight win by the Cobras over their bitter rival, and the school’s 14th straight for the season.
Import Landry Sanjo tallied 20 points and grabbed 20 rebounds as he made the Green Lancers paid the price after UV coach Felix `Donbel’ Belayo decided to play small ball for most of the match.
Southwestern’s backcourt duo of Monbert Arong and Mark Jayven Tallo also unshackled themselves from UV’s tight defense as they combined for 26 points. Apart from scoring 10 markers, Tallo also had eight rebounds, four assists, and two steals.
SWU coach Yayoy Alcoseba said he was pleased with the Cobra’s improvement from their “awful” Game 1 performance. In particular, he singled out Tallo who played a more controlled game after committing eight turnovers in the title opener.
“We all saw the tape and we learned from that. I’m glad that he’s (Tallo) growing up right in the Finals. After all, he’s still a rookie here,” said Alcoseba of his starting point guard.
The Lancers were just within striking distance early in the third, 41-43, when the defending champions ripped the game wide open behind 15 unanswered points, sparked by a Bernie Bregondo lay-up and capped by an Adam Maohammed three-pointer.
The Lancers’ woes were compounded further after wingman Franz Arong was ejected from the game for a disqualifying foul committed on a driving Arong.
SWU took advantage by making four straight free-throws, before Tallo put on the exclamation point on the Cobras’ run with a long trifecta for a commanding 58-41 lead at the 1:24 mark of the third period.
The Lancers rallied and came to within 60-67 on a free-throw and a midrange jumper by John Abad from the corner with 2:55 left to play. But the Cobras responded with consecutive fastbreak baskets by Sanjo to put them beyond reach, 71-60, with 73 seconds remaining.
Abad made up for his paltry four-point outing in Game One by scoring 16. However, he sorely lacked help as nobody else reached double-figures for the Lancers, whose big men Rhaffy Octobre, Chris Perolino, and reigning league MVP Wowie Escosio were relegated to the bench after Belano opted to go small ball.
Southwestern University (73) -- Sanjo 20, M. Arong 16, Tallo 10, Mohammed 8, Bregondo 8, Bautista 5, Goloran 4, Siewe 2, Panerio 0, Ortega 0.
University of Visayas (60) -- Abad 16, Nzuesseu 9, Marquez 8, Escosio 7, Fajardo 5, Villamor 5, Akomo 4, Codilla 2, F. Arong 2, Mendoza 2, Cabañero 0, Perolino 0, Octobre 0.
Quarterscores: 16-16; 38-33; 58-44; 73-60.