THE University of the Visayas Green Lancers are back to the finals, so with the Sacred Heart School-Ateneo de Cebu Magis Eagles after the two defending champions defeated their separate opponents in the semifinal round of the 2017 Cebu Schools Athletic Foundation Inc. (Cesafi) Basketball Tournament last night at the Cebu Coliseum.
The Magis Eagles move to the championship series after beating the University of Cebu Baby Webmasters following a 64-61 win in the high school division, while the Green Lancers eliminated the University of San Carlos to book the first finals ticket in the college division.
The Warriors put up a tough fight as they managed to keep the Lancers within distance before UV got away in the final five minutes of the fourth quarter.
As UV controlled the match early, USC always found a way to creep back into the action. But after an 11-all score, the Lancers finished the first quarter with a 9-0 kick, while holding USC scoreless for two minutes and 17 seconds.
But the Lancers struggled almost in the entire third period as the defense of USC allowed only three field goals, while making most of their points from the foul line, where they went 12-of-20. The Warriors caught up and even managed the take the lead before the score was tied at 58-all at the close of the quarter.
However, they managed to stay within two points in the first three minutes of the final period. UV started to regain its composure and behind its dominance at the board, the Green Lancers finally shook off the Warriors as they dropped a 14-4 run as they Lancers built a 78-6 lead in the final 2:58 seconds of the game.
UV’s Liberian center Bassieru Sackor was the top producer of the game as he scored 16 points and grabbed 17 rebounds, while Rey Suerte made 14.
After the game, the USC coaching staff complained why referees Roland Yamelo and Jebrel Calma were allowed to officiate while they were still under suspension.
USC major backer Junie Martinez aired his frustrations why the two referees were assigned to officiate despite the suspension slapped by Cesafi for their part during the controversial UC-USPF game last Sept. 14.
However, deputy commissioner Danny Duran clarified that the suspension has been lifted by lawyer Marvin Pañares, who is also a deputy commission of the league.
“The suspension was already lifted by Atty. Pañares. And since this is already the semis, we needed every Class A referees in our pool. That’s why they were assigned to official at the game,” Duran explained.
UV will wait for the winner of the do-or-die game between the University of San Jose-Recoletos Jaguars and the University of Cebu Webmasters in the best-of-3 championship while USC will play the loser of that game for third place finish.
Meanwhile, SHS-AdC found a tough challenge from the Baby Webmasters who work hard only to fail in the end game.
UC failed to capitalized on the 32 turnovers committed by the Magis Eagles as they shot poorly from the field connecting only 21 shots of 73 attempts and giving up 14 second chance points to SHS-AdC.
The Magis Eagles will be shooting for its fifth straight Cesafi title against the well-rested University of the Visayas Baby Lancers in the best of three championship series that will start on Oct. 12. (RCM)