ORMOC CITY - The University of the Visayas Green Lancers reached the Elite Eight of the 2015 Philippine Collegiate Champions League (PCCL) after obliterating upstart University of Negros Occidental-Recoletos Rams, 76-47, in the Visayas-Mindanao qualifying games championship on Wednesday night at the Superdome in Ormoc.
The Lancers showed no hesitation in seizing the opportunity to battle the Philippine’s best collegiate teams, building a 17-5 first quarter lead with one-time national youth team member Leonard Santillan and Cameroonian reinforcement Steve Akomo spearheading the attack.
The lead ballooned to 19, 56-37, heading to the final canto where the Lancers eventually cruised to the easy victory. Akomo, UV’s high-leaping 6-foot-9 center, topped the Lancers in scoring with 16 points.
UV head coach Gary Cortes said the team is motivated to become the very first champion to come from outside Manila.
“The morale is high and they are excited to play in Manila to showcase their talents and try to become the first provincial team to win the PCCL,” said Cortes, himself a former defensive ace for the Green Lancers who took over the coaching cudgels from Felix “Donbel” Belano late last year.
The Green Lancers came close back in 2007 with a lineup bannered by the likes of then-rookie Greg Slaughter and former Alaska Aces forward Ariel Mepana but were thwarted by the Ateneo Blue Eagles.
The last Cebu team to make it to the finals of this competition was the Southwestern University Cobras who fell to the La Salle Green Archers in 2013.
Cortes added that they wasted no time in preparing for the Elite Eight as they immediately practiced on Thursday morning after their victory in Ormoc.
“I’m pretty sure we can give them a run for their money,” he shared.