AFTER four tries, the University of San Carlos (USC) Baby Warriors finally nabbed their first win in the Cesafi 2016 season.
Gerald Iñigo led all scorers with 21 points followed by Ralph Bande with 15 to give their team their first win of the season.
The Baby Warriors started hot early in the first quarter, draining their first four shots in the quarter giving them a score of 16-8.
But the Wildkittens retaliated quickly led by their scoring guard Kirk Suson and Lorence Hapin's outside shooting including a buzzer beater three pointer to narrow the lead 18-17 to end the quarter.
In the second quarter, the Wildkittens gained momentum as they limit the Baby Warriors offense, registering three steals and two turnovers allowing them to take their first lead of the ballgame 21-20 with 6:54 minutes remaining in the quarter.
However, it was taken back immediately by Baby Warriors big man Steven Mendoza with his putback rebound and a timely assist to give them a three point lead 24-21 in the last 5:12 minutes of the game.
A couple of lead changes was made in the remaining 3:26 minutes of the quarter as the Baby Wildcats took back their lead again 25-24.
Back court duo Hapin and Suson again hit three quick basket to give their team a 5 point lead going into the second half 25-31.
The game got tighter in the second half as both teams trade blows registering a total of 6 lead changes in the first seven minutes of the game.
The Wildkittens will end the third quarter with one possession lead 46-48 courtesy of Marion Abinuman's steal
In the last quarter, the Wildkittens carried their momentum as they started hot, hitting a go ahead three pointer by Hapin including an assist to Ivan Ares, who finished with 17 points, resulting to a three point play basket.
But the Baby Warriors stayed in the game led by bigman Steven Mendoza's inside game to keep his team close 52-54 with 7:04 minutes remaining in the final quarter.
The Wildkittens extended their lead to four points but was answered immediately by the Baby Warriors intensity on defense taking the lead 60-58 with 3:51 minutes remaining.
However, the Wildkittens responded quickly with a lay up to tie the game 60-60 with 3:23 minutes in the final quarter.
In the last two minutes of the ball game, the Baby Warriors played fast as they turned every miss shot into a quick two points taking the lead 62-60
With 1:01 minutes remaining, the Baby Warriors have the lead 64-62 but was tied back once again by the Baby Wildcats courtesy of Kirk Suso's clutch lay up to tie the game 64-64
However, after a time out called by the Warriors a beautiful play was set up for an open three pointer by Antonio Octaviano to put his team ahead 67-64 with 50 seconds remaining.
The Wildkittens slowly pulled away following two forced possession from Gerald Iñigo including a go ahead three pointer to conclude the game 64-72.
The UPSF Wildkittens remain winless for this season.
Watch the Cesafi basketball season 16 live at cesafi.sunstar.com.ph/live and www.sunstar.com.ph.
SunStar's livestreaming of Cesafi 2016 is powered by PLDT Home Fibr, home's most powerful broadband. (Samuel Carlve Saberon, USJR intern/Sunnex)
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on August 27, 2016.
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