DEFENDING champion Southwestern University and the University of the Visayas inched closer to forging a championship showdown after beating separate opponents in the semifinals of the 13th Cesafi men’s basketball tournament on Thursday night at the Cebu Coliseum.
The Cobras completed a sweep of the first round of the semis by beating the University of San Carlos Warriors, 74-59, while the Green Lancers destroyed the University of San Jose-Recoletos Jaguars, 70-37, allowing the two longtime rivals to stay in the Top Two of the standings.
SWU now holds a 3-0 (win-loss) mark with UV trailing close at 2-1 heading to this weekend’s All Star break. The top two teams at the end of the semis will clash in the finals.
The 37 points that the Jaguars registered was a season-low for any team in either division this year. Rhaffy Octobre paced the Green Lancers’ balanced attack with 13 points in a game where all but two players scored for the team.
Meanwhile, the Cobras made sure there would be no repeat of their close game against the Warriors in the elimination round as they zoomed off to a 21-point lead in the third canto and finished the game strong behind the efforts of African import, Landry Sanjo.
USC came close to beating SWU in their first encounter before folding in overtime, 70-76.
Sanjo had 15 points, 16 rebounds and four blocked shots for the Cobras. Fil-Canadian Adams Mohammed led the way for SWU with 17 poionts while Monbert Arong added 15 to offset the five-point performance of prized guard, Mark Jayven Tallo.
Ahmed Salihou and Ian Ortega led USC with 11 points each as they fell to 1-2. USJ-R brings up the rear with their sorry 0-3 card.
UV (70) - Octobre 13, Akomo 9, Mendoza 8, Abad 7, Arong 7, Escosio 6, Babia 5, Nzuesseu 4, Codilla 3, Marquez 2, Santillan 2, Cabañero 2, Perolino 1, Fajardo 0.
USJ-R (37) - Bayhonan 8, Tabaloc 8, M. Parker 7, C. Parker 5, Lajato 4, R. Senining 4, Sanchez 1, C. Senining 0, Regalado 0, Galvez 0, Rosell 0, Cinco 0, Nogas 0.
Quarterscores: 19-9, 38-16, 56-25, 70-37.
SWU (74) - Mohammed 17, Arong 15, Sanjo 15, Goloran 9, Tallo 5, Bregondo 4, Siewe 4, Panerio 3, Ortega 2, Bautista 0, Otida 0.
USC (59) - Ortega 11, Salihou 11, Plata 10, Laude 7, Romaguera 5, Que 4, Guardiario 2, Magat 2, Rabat 2, Pepito 2, Lim 1, Amin 0, Adlawan 0.
Quarterscores: 22-11, 35-26, 43-30, 74-59.