Villagracia steals show-A A +A
Thursday, August 22, 2013
EDDIE Jer Villagracia was the last player on the mind of coach Erning Remedio, but the coach was forced to field the unassuming guard after his reliables fouled out of the game or became a liability.
However, Villagracia proved to be the coup de grace for the University of Southern Philippines Foundation (USPF) Baby Panthers, who survived a thrilling match to beat the University of Cebu Baby Webmasters, 85-83, in overtime of the 2013 Cebu Schools Athletic Foundation Inc. (Cesafi) high school basketball match last night at the Cebu Coliseum.
Today, high school champions Sacred Heart School-Ateneo de Cebu will try to keep their record clean as they play the winless USJ-R Baby Jaguars at 5 p.m. and UV will play the USPF Panthers in the main game.
Meanwhile, the USC Warriors scored its second win against the USPF Panthers, 69-55, in the college division.
Villagracia scored only three points, a 3-of-4 clip from the free throw line, but his offensive contributions were enough to energize the Baby Panthers to victory when their morale was almost drained after a very tight match from the start.
The game was evenly fought with UC taking a slim 16-15 lead in the first quarter and USPF equalizing the game at 32-all after the first half.
Still, both teams traded baskets evenly for the next 20 minutes with UC relying much on the firepower of Justine Dacalos, while USPF went to Goldwayne Baje to neutralize the Baby Webmasters’ scoring machine.
Dacalos and Baje each had 15 points in the fourth period for their teams, with USPF getting help from Airam Sam Cantillas and Jour James Villamor while UC had Darrell Shane Menina and Chris Clyde Naong.
USPF had the chance to settle the game in the regulation period as they led, 78-76, but Dacalos barreled through the middle to send the game in extra period.
With John Bryle Bahio, Kurt Michael Pepito and Villamor collecting their fifth and final fouls, coach Remedio tried to shuffle off his bench before deciding to use Villagracia.
Defensively, Villagracia stood his ground and helped the team stop UC plays before he was given the chance to score at the free throw line.
On his first attempt, Villagracia went 2-of-2 to even the game at 82 with less than a minute left to play.
After UC missed its attempt, Cantillas score a baseline drive that gave the Baby Panthers an 84-82 lead while Menina split his charities in UC possession.
Villagracia was again sent to the line, this time he split his charities with 8.7 seconds left to play in overtime as Dacalos missed the final attempt for UC.
Baje, who was scoreless in the first quarter scored 27 points as USPF improved to 3-1 with Cantillas adding 11 and Villamor finisheing with 10 while Dacalos scored the game high 32 points, Menina added 15 and Naong scored 12 as UC dropped 1-3.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on August 22, 2013.