DALAGUETE, Cebu – University of San Carlos was quick to give Southwestern University a payback after handling the reigning Cebu Schools Athletic Foundation Inc. (Cesafi) champion a 75-66 beating in the 10th Asian Universities Basketball Championship-Cebu Province International Basketball Cup at the Dalaguete Municipal gym here Thursday night.
Still smarting from their 64-49 loss in the decisive Game 5 of the Cesafi Finals, the Warriors came out with more focus and took advantage of an SWU side that chose to tinker with its lineup.
Despite losing head coach Junthy Valenzuela to consecutive technical fouls late in the second period, the Warriors kept their pose and weathered a second half surge by the Cobras to grab their second win in as many games in this five-day tournament.
The best local team to emerge in the meet will get the chance to represent the country in the 2015 Summer Universiade in Gwanju, South Korea.
In the other game of the scheduled doubleheader, University of the Visayas (UV) kept the visiting Myongji University winless following an 80-66. Demolition.
Both UV and SWU share the same 1-1 record with the final seeding for the semifinal round to be determined after the Friday games at the municipality of Minglanilla.
The semifinals will be played on Saturday at 5:30 p.m. at the USC gym.
The two winners then advance to the championship match on Sunday at the Cebu City Sports Institute in Barangay San Nicolas.
The Cobras jumped to a 6-0 lead in the early minutes before the Warriors countered with a 17-2 blast that put them on top, 17-8, after the first quarter.
But the Cobras opted to give playing minutes to their bench, which the Warriors readily pounced on to stretch the lead to 45-22 following a three-pointer by Victor Rabat.
Despite leading by a mile, Valenzuela went on and slammed game officials for what he deemed was inconsistent officiating, earning him two consecutive technical fouls that led to his ejection.
With their head coach gone, the Warriors suddenly became careless, allowing the Cobras to pull within 61-66 after baskets by Landry Sanjo and Jovanie Luz.
But the Cobras’ momentum was negated when head coach Raul ‘Yayoy’ Alcoseba was called for a technical foul for excessive complaining.
USC import Shooster Olago and Ian Tagapan were quick to pounce on the opportunity as the two connived for 10 points down the stretch to seal the win for the Warriors.
After scoring 39 against Myongji, Olago settled for 20 points this time, while Tagapan and Nico Magat added 14 each.
Bendly Valdor led SWU with 14, while Sanjo finished with 12, Dan Audris Lagbas broke out for 11, even as Luz chipped in 10.