UNIVERSITY of the Visayas and the University of San Carlos advanced to the last four in the Cesafi juniors basketball tournament after getting past their respective quarterfinal rivals on Wednesday at the University of San Jose-Recoletos gym.
John Escalona scored 18 points as second seed UV beat University of Cebu, 78-75, while USC overpowered Cebu Institute of Technology-University, 83-69.
The Wildkittens put up a solid stand against the third seed Baby Warriors as they held a 56-55 lead late in the third canto after back to back baskets by Jonher Espina. However, USC zoomed ahead with a 13-2 run.
Ian dela Cruz scored 14 in the third period, including 12 straight at one point, for a 68-58 lead entering the fourth.
The Baby Warriors then sealed the victory and their place in the next round by scoring the first eight points of the fourth to erect a 76-58 lead.
However, the win was stained by the ejection of dela Cruz who was caught punching CIT-U forward Leo Labiste with 4:59 remaining in the game. Dela Cruz, suspended for one game, will miss the first game of the semifinal round on Sunday. The school will also be fined P5,000.
Dela Cruz finished with 19 points, while Kervin Villagracia had 17 points and 12 rebounds. Clint Suelto and Paul Galinato ended up with 10 points each.
Jessie Aloro scored 24 to pace the Wildkittens but was held down to just six points in the entire second half.