CEBU CITY - The Sacred Heart School-Ateneo de Cebu Magis Eagles leaned on a strong finish to defeat the University of the Visayas Baby Lancers, 65-63, and force a deciding Game Three in the SM-National Basketball Training Center Cebu Tournament finals on Sunday at the Minglanilla Sports Complex.
Playing before thousands of supporters from the nearby Sisters of Mary-Boystown, the Magis Eagles kept their quest for a seventh successive title alive with clutch plays from Patrick Yu, Christian Manaytay and Errol Pastor, who led Ateneo de Cebu’s balanced attack with 11 points.
The Magis Eagles blew a 14-point lead and faced a 58-61 deficit after a putback by Joshua Yerro, with 3:47 to go in the game. But the Eagles kept their composure and tied the game with a free-throw by Jeremy Nacua and a steal and a lay-in by Yu.
Ateneo de Cebu then regained the upper hand, 65-61, off a left-handed hook shot by Pastor and a lay-in by Manaytay off a steal and assist from Pastor.
Yerro pulled the Baby Lancers to within two after lay-up down the middle of the lane. However, that proved to be UV’s final hurrah as they botched several plays in crunchtime, including the game’s final possession. UV had a clean shot to tie or win the game after Ateneo de Cebu’s Andrew Velasco flubbed a midrange attempt and Jancork Cabahug rebounded the ball.
But Baby Lancer guard Jim Amistoso could not get a clean handle on the ball as he was bringing it up the floor, and Yu took the opportunity to swipe it away as time expired to preserve the Magis Eagles’ series-tying win.
Yu, Velasco and Nacua each scored nine for Ateneo de Cebu.
UV got 18 from Cabahug and 16 more from JJ Rosete.