MARK Jayven Tallo scored 27 points in his return to the Cebu Schools Athletic Foundation Inc., leading the reigning champions Southwestern University Cobras to a 76-70 overtime win over University of San Carlos Warriors on Sunday at the Cebu Coliseum.
The former Cesafi juniors MVP who had stops in Ateneo and La Salle in college before eventually deciding to return home, flourished at his old stomping grounds as he added seven rebounds, four assists and four steals in his debut for the Cobras.
USC did not go away quietly as Ian Ortega connected on a trey from the right win that sliced the deficit down to two.
But Tallo sealed the deal with two free-throws and import Landry Sanjo punctuated the victory with a steal and a thunderous slam-dunk at the final buzzer.
Tallo’s three-pointer earlier fueled a 9-0 blast that lifted the Cobras from a, 61-67, deficit with 2:32 remaining in overtime.
Monbert Arong hit back-to-back three-point bombs to put the Cobras ahead, 70-67, with 1:08 left.
The Cobras appeared to have a clear path to the win in regulation as Tallo stole the ball and was coasting to the rim for what he expected to be the game-winning basket. However, USC import Ahmed Salihou came out of nowhere and swatted the former’s attempt away to send the game to overtime.
Sanjo had a double-double of 13 points and 13 boards in debut with SWU, while Arong finished with 12. USC got 23 from rookie Miguel Plata, and 17 from Fil-American wingman Stephen Que.
The Cobras looked headed for an easy win as they blew the game wide open with a 22-2 run in the third period, eight by Tallo on a variety of daring drives in the face of Salihou, for a 47-40 lead.
SWU established their biggest lead of the game at 56-38, with exactly seven minutes left.
But the Warriors suddenly went berserk from beyond the three-point arc, sinking five in a sizzling 21-1 run that was capped off by a fastbreak basket by Plata that put them on top, 59-57.
The Cobras kept their composure and tied the game at 59-all off an undergoal stab by Fil-Canadian Adams Mohammed, time down to 41.1 seconds.
In the juniors division, defending champion Sacred Heart School-Ateneo de Cebu kept their undefeated streak going as they beat the University of Cebu Baby Webmasters, 68-52. The Magis Eagles have not tasted defeat since last season where they went 14-0 and captured their first crown in Cesafi history. Philippine Under-16 team member Arnie Padilla led the Eagles with 21 points.
Cebu Eastern College Dragons defeated the Don Bosco Greywolves, 80-62, while Cebu Institute of Technology-University beat University of San Jose-Recoletos, 91-68.