CEBU CITY - University of the Visayas leaned on a fantastic finishing kick to beat Holy Trinity College of General Santos, 91-74, and earn a rematch with arch-rival Southwestern University for the Southern Islands Championship of the 2012 Philippine Collegiate Champions League (PCCL) at the Cebu Coliseum on Wednesday.
The return bout between the Green Lancers and Cobras is set for Thursday afternoon for the right to represent the region in the tournament's Final Four set in Manila.
The Lancers are raring to get back at the Cobras, who beat them in the deciding Game Five of the Cebu Schools Athletic Foundation Inc. (Cesafi) championship just last month. The Cobras battled back from the depths of an 18-point deficit in the final seven minutes to snatch the title away.
UV did not have it easy against the HTC Wildcats, who scored six straight points inside the final 8:35 of the game to threaten at 68-70.
But the Lancers unleashed a searing 15-2 blast behind Cesafi Rookie-MVP Wowie Escosio, John Abad, and Cameroonian Steve Akomo, to stretch the lead back to 85-70 with less than five minutes remaining.
Escosio had 23 points to lead UV, including 19 in the first half. Abad, Vincent Mendoza, and Cesafi Mythical Five member Jerome Silva had 12 points each.
HTC got 20 from Christopher Masaglang, while Arthur Pepito and McDenver Polistico contributed 16 and 10 points, respectively.