CEBU CITY – The University of San Carlos Warriors pounced on the listless Far Eastern University Tamaraws, 88-74, at the start of the Elite Eight stage of the Philippine Collegiate Champions League (PCCL) on Thursday night at the Cebu Coliseum.
The Warriors led by as much as 24 points in the second period and withstood a second half surge by the Tamaraws, thanks to the solid play of Congolese Espoir Toyambi and Cameroonian Shooster Olago.
Toyambi scored 11 of his 20 points in the final frame while Olago added 19 markers to buoy the Cebu Schools Athletic Foundation Inc. (Cesafi) runners up to the crucial victory.
Mike Tolomia had 21 points to lead the way for the Tamaraws while UAAP Mythical Five member Mac Belo chipped in 13 but missed several crucial shots down the stretch which could have pulled FEU close enough to threaten the Warriors after trailing by as much as 15-39 early in the second period.
The Warriors jumped ahead, 23-10, after the first 10 minutes of action and didn’t let up, scoring 11 straight capped by a triple by former Mapua Cardinal Nico Magat at the start of the second to erect a 34-10 advantage.
The Tamaraws got as close as 53-54 after an Achie Inigo three-pointer but Olago scored five straight at the period’s close to bring USC’s lead back to six, 62-56.
The UAAP runner-ups last threatened at 72-76 after four straight points by Belo but Toyambi answered with an inside bucket and a layup off a great feed from wingman Jair Igna that sparked a game-ending 12-2 run.
USC (88) - Toyambi 20, Olago 19, Rabat 10, Magat 10, Tagapan 9, Asuncion 7, Lim 6, Arjon 3, Pepito 2, Bensig 2, Ecarma 0, Igna 0, Malana 0, Adlawan 0.
FEU (74) - Tolomia 21, Belo 13, Cruz 11, Tamsi 8, Trinidad 5, Pogoy 4, Orizu 4, Iñigo 3, Eboña 3, Escoto 2, Jose 0, Denila 0, Delfinado 0, Ugsang 0, Lee Yu 0.
Quarterscores: 23-10; 44-35; 62-56; 88-74.