THE Cebu Schools Athletic Foundation Inc. (Cesafi) 2017 Season ended the way it was prophesized.
The University of the Visayas Green Lancers-University of Cebu Webmasters match in the finals was also anticipated, and it lived up to expectations, giving basketball-hungry Cebuanos the kind of basketball they wanted all along.
UV beat UC, 2-1, in the best-of-three series to its 12th Cesafi College Basketball title.
For the first time in 10 years, one school won the two basketball titles, following the UV Baby Lancers sweep victory over the dethroned Sacred Heart School-Ateneo de Cebu Magis Eagles in the high school championship series, 2-0.
The Baby Lancers sweep all its game in the season, including nine straight in the elimination round that put them automatically in the finals.
The last time, UV had double titles was in 2007, and the school’s 6th feat in 17 seasons.
The anticipation of an exciting season was building with the announcement of the appointment of the multi-titled Yayoy Alcoseba to head the University of Cebu Webmasters, barely four months after Southwestern University announced his resignation.
Alcoseba, turned the erstwhile doormat team to a championship contender, finishing third in the elimination round with a 7-5 win-loss record, then eliminated the University of San Jose-Recoletos (USJ-R) Jaguars’ right to play the Green Lancers for the titles.
The Webmasters’ transformation was evident when they defeated UV in Game 1 of the championship series, 85-77.
However, UV’s superiority and championship experience prevailed as they won the next two games, 77-66 and 69-56, respectively, to claim its first back-to-back titles since winning the first nine season championship, and its 12th Cesafi crown.
For the Baby Lancers it was its seventh title, but above all, they snapped the domination of the Magis Eagles who has won four straight titles in six straight finals appearance.
UV coach Gary Cortes was emotional after the sound of the final buzzer as the title meant so much to him not just because of the quality of opposition, but for all the hardship and challenges they need to transcend.
“Every team has its go-to-guys and there are seniors. But that did not exist with the Lancers, everybody is equal and they knew their roles. We have complete trust on the players, especially on our team captain Joshue Segumpan who proved to be a very humble and very efficient leader. He commands respect from his teammates and very reliable, especially on the task that we give to him,” Cortes told SunStar Cebu.
UV’s victory proved that scouting and good coaching and team management should always goes along together to put up a championship caliber.
“And thanks to the Cebu basketball fans, especially to those who are cheering for us, the Cesafi officials for a successful season, despite some minor hitches, and to all photographers and sportswriters for all your never ending articles from the opening day up to the awarding ceremony, without your articles, our friends away from venue will never know that Cesafi basketball exist. And lastly to our almighty God for giving us the talent, best of health, peace, and guidance,” Cortes continued.
Cortes and his coaching staff, Jojo Maglasang and Van Halen Parmis, also played a crucial role in the Baby Lancers’ championship run.
One hitch that put speck to the season was the “walkout” of the officials on the UC-USPF Panthers game that saw five players, two assistant coaches and three referees suspended.
The reactivation of the referees during the UV-USC semifinal game however became an issue since there was no announcement of their reactivation.
Despite these lapses, Cesafi 2017 basketball regained its reputation.
UV, meanwhile, is now preparing for its next challenge--the Philippine Collegiate Champions League (PCCL) National Collegiate Finals in February. (RCM)
Published in the SunStar Cebu newspaper on October 18, 2017.
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