CEBU Eastern College swept the first round of the semifinals as they came back from a nine-point deficit in the last two minutes to nip University of the Visayas, 67-65, in the 13th Cesafi basketball tournament Wednesday at the Cebu Coliseum.
The win was the Dragons’ third in a row heading to the All Star break this weekend. CEC leaned on several defensive stops including Chris Salac’s steal that led to the game-winning fastbreak lay-up by Marc Obado with 5.2 seconds left.
Obado finished with 15 points and eight rebounds, Alfonso Alvizo scored 12 and Mark Roa had 11 points.
Meanwhile, defending champion Sacred Heart School-Ateneo de Cebu Eagles won their second straight game in the semifinals, beating University of San Carlos, 78-72.
Jair Igna scored 32 points, just a day after scoring 28 against the University of the Visayas. The Davao City-native made 13 points in a telling second period stretch that saw the Eagles outscore the Baby Warriors, 24-14, to erect a double-digit advantage.
Igna added 10 more in the final canto, keeping USC at bay when they made a last-ditch effort to come back.
Philippine under-16 team member Arnie Padilla added 11 points and nine rebounds, while Gio Laguyo chipped in 10 points and seven boards.
Behind 56-65 with 2:02 left, the Dragons dug deep to trim the lead and were able to tie the score with a three-pointer by Richmond Buli-Buli from the right wing, 31.6 on the clock.
UV still had a shot at winning the game but instead, had the ball stolen away from Jun Manzo by Salac, who then passed the ball to a streaking Obado for the go-ahead basket. The Baby Lancers sealed their demise as Ernesto Limitares missed a wide-open three-pointer from the corner at the buzzer.