UV Lancers subdue SWU Cobras-A A +A
Friday, October 4, 2013
CEBU CITY -- Ridiculed by his mediocre free throw shooting and criticized by his lack of zest especially in crucial games, 2012 Rookie/MVP Hernal “Wowie” Escoscio got his vindication.
He scored the winning basket to lift the University of the Visayas (UV) Green Lancers over the Southwestern University (SWU) Cobras, 64-62, in Game 5 to win the 2013 Cebu Schools Athletic Foundation Inc. (Cesafi) college basketball title Thursday night at the jampacked Cebu Coliseum.
Aside from Escocio’s, the heart of the Lancers pulled them through this tough series, especially when everybody else doubted their capability.
The win completed UV’s improbable comeback as the Lancers bounced back after losing the first two games to oust the defending champion SWU, which was undefeated in the regular season.
“Of all the championships we had, this is the sweetest of them all. Everybody counted us out when we were down two games. We are the underdogs since we lost to them (SWU) five times. But now we are vindicated. Never underestimate the heart of the Visayanians,” UV team manager and Rep. Gerald Anthony “Sam-Sam” Gullas (Cebu, 1st district) told Sun.Star Cebu.
Escosio, who was heckled every time he stepped in the free throw line in past games, had the last laugh when he scored the last 11 points for the Haier backed-UV in the final period.
While it was a trying series for UV, the deciding game also had its own share of trials and comic twists.
At the 4:44 mark of the first quarter, the game was stopped for 30 minutes because the digital scoreboard conked out. When the game resumed, only the scoreboard and shot clock at the SWU side was working.
The Lancers were then leading 8-5 during the stoppage.
However, the technician did not arrive an hour after the halftime, forcing the commissioners to look for solutions.
While they huddled together with the two teams, Cebu City Mayor Mike Rama, acting as mediator, announced that they will wait for 15 minutes more for the technician and if he didn’t arrive, the game would be postponed.
When no technician or replacement for the scoreboard and shot clock arrived, both teams decided to play on but use the old way of announcing the remaining time on the shot clock and using a white board to tally the score.
And after nearly two hours of delay, the game resumed with SWU holding a precarious 29-28 lead following a hardly fought second quarter that saw five lead changes and four deadlocks.
However, UV came off aggressively at the start of the third period as John Abad, the smallest player in the court, sank a triple that opened a 12-0 run and put Lancers up 40-29.
With UV dictating the tempo of the game, SWU had to play efficiently to recover.
Cameroonian Landry Sanjo, who scored the game high 21 points, had 16 points in that stretch to tow SWU within one, 56-55, with five minutes left to play.
Regular season MVP Mark Jayven Tallo then sank a 3-pointer that evened the game at 60.
The two teams were still tied at 62 before Escosio sank the final dagger that eventually ousted SWU from the throne.
Aside from Escosio, Mike Harry Nzeusseu was the other UV player to score in the fourth quarter with four straight points.
The Maritime Regimen of SWU, the same throng of Cobras supporters who ridiculed Escosio, were the only SWU fans left on their seats while UV received the championship trophy. The Maritime Regimen watched as the UV fans stormed inside the court to take pictures with their favorite players.
“I kept telling my players about biblical characters – the story of David and Goliath, the story of the Wall of Jericho. Like them, we were the underdogs. We were given up for good. It is only us who believed in ourselves. I salute my players for believing that God would help us win this battle. Thanks to the Gullas family and the school administration for their unconditional support to the team. We dedicate this win to Ma’am Ming-Ming (Norma Gullas, wife of UV president Eddie Gullas) who will celebrate her birthday tomorrow (today),” UV head coach Felix Belano Jr. said.
This is Belano’s first regular Cesafi title after taking over the coaching job in 2011, and UV’s 10th title since winning nine straight from 2001 to 2009.
“Inspired lang ako kasi nandito ang pamilya ko. Kahit malayo sila pero nandito sila para suportahan ako. Sabi ni Coach sa akin huwag lang ako papadala sa mga kantiyaw.
Focus lang sa laro at aggressiveness sa offense and defense,” said Escosio, a native of Palait, Dagupan.
He finished with 16 points on top of 12 rebounds, an assist and a block.
Nzeusseu, who was hounded by early foul trouble, will treasure this championship.
“This is a sweet championship. I learned to play hard game and it gave me passion for basketball. I learned that with God nothing is impossible. I just listen to coach when I was in foul trouble, and I did not let (Landry) Sanjo dominate me,” said Nzeusseu, who also scored 11 points on top of seven rebounds and a block.
When Nzeusseu was sitting on the bench, UV’s other Cameroonian player Steve Cedric Akomo finally broke free from his struggles as he made his presence felt and scored seven points, including three slam dunks.
Abad was UV’s leading scorer as the diminutive guard scattered 18 points to go along with seven rebounds, four assists and one steal.
Aside from Sanjo, Tallo added 12 and Daryl Goloran finished with 10 for Southwestern.
Instead of confetti and balloons, water bottles rained inside the court.
The bottles were not thrown to spoil the win as they all came from the UV’s side of the coliseum.
The water bottles started raining after Escosio sank the winning put-back and Tallo missed a desperate triple. (Sun.Star Cebu)
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on October 04, 2013.