TRISTAN Albina and Monic Soliva provided the key moves and helped the University of the Visayas Green Lancers nail a series-equalizing 77-66 win over the University of Cebu Webmasters in Game 2 of the best-of-3 championship series of the 2017 Cebu Schools Athletic Foundation Inc. (Cesafi) college basketball finals.
Forty-eight hours after their second and worst loss this season and 24 hours after watching their Juniors team win the high school title, the Lancers summoned all their focus and determination and displayed their championship pedigree, while the Webmasters collapsed in the final minutes of the game.
UV showed it has found a way to counter Frederick Elombi, Justine Dacalos, Garciano Puerto and John Jabello on their way to win the game. But for Game 3, the Lancers need to be prepared for Ruben Ludovice, UC’s rookie revelation who had 10 points and 16 rebounds.
While UV limited Elombe to a season-low four rebounds—all from the offensive board—and shut him out in the second half, it was the rebounding prowess of Ludovice and his spot up jumpers that kept UC in the game against the determined Lancers.
Lancers had a blazing start as the combination of Soliva, Jerome Napao and Bassieru Sackor helped UV build a 12-point lead, 21-9, before UC scored the final four points of the quarter to make it, 21-13.
UV parried the jabs momentarily in the second period, but UC could not be denied as Elombi led the charge by scoring 12 of his team’s 23 points to put the Webmasters ahead, 36-31.
The Lancers continued to struggle in the next five minutes of the third quarter, while watching the Webmasters score a series of baskets that put them ahead, 48-38, at the 5:20 mark.
However, UV got the biggest break of the game when Dacalos was called for a foul while trying to steal the ball from Joshue Segumpan.
Dacalos complained fiercely, forcing the referees to slap him with a technical foul. Since a technical foul is charged as an additional personal foul, Dacalos fouled out of the game with still 5:06 left to play in the third quarter.
UC was never the same again and without the back court hustle and quarterbacking of Dacalos, UV managed to drop a 16-0 run to reclaim the momentum of the game.
With Rey Suerte finally hitting his shots and Albina and Soliva providing the extra threats, UV posted a nine-point lead, 65-56, at the 4:51 mark.
Puerto and Michael Gonzaga pumped adrenaline into the Webmasters by burying a triple each in an 8-2 run to make it 65-68 with 2:19 left to play but it proved to be the last push from UC. Jerome Napao countered with a triple and UV finished the job by scoring the next six points after Puerto missed two of his three free throws in the final 1:40 mark.
Albina and Napao top-scored for UV with 18 points each. Suerte made 13 points and grabbed 10 rebounds, and Soliva finished with 12 markers. Elombi scored the game-high 19 points and Joven Tagudin finished with 12 points.
The deciding Game 3 will be on Sunday at 4 p.m. (RCM)
Published in the SunStar Cebu newspaper on October 14, 2017.
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