THE University of Cebu (UC) Webmasters are no longer one of the league’s whipping boys.

Thanks to constant motivation and great game preparation, the Webmasters surprised defending champions University of the Visayas Green Lancers, 85-77, to win Game 1 of the best-of-3 finals series of the 2017 Cebu Schools Athletic Foundation Inc. (Cesafi) College basketball tournament at the Cebu Coliseum last night.

The Lancers will try to correct the mistakes going to Game 2 on Friday, while UC will try to win its first Cesafi title in the post-June Mar Fajardo era. On the other hand, the UV Baby Lancers will try to wrap up the high school series against defending champion Sacred Heart School-Ateneo de Cebu Magis Eagles in Game 2 of the high school division finals at 5:15 p.m. today.

Anchored on another explosive performance of Cameroonian center Frederick Elombi, UC kept the Lancers at bay in the opening quarter and then held the Lancers without a field goal for six minutes and 34 seconds of the second quarter to post a 16-point lead, 37-21. They went on to take a 45-33 at the end of the first half.

The Lancers woke up from a deep slumber and moved closer, 61-59, at the 7:49 mark of the fourth quarter.

UC countered the run but again UV managed to get within a point, 68-67, at the 4:12 mark of the fourth when Elombi picked his fourth foul.

A traveling call against Monic Soliva opened up the opportunity for the Webmasters to drop a searing 13-4 blitz that put UC beyond reach at 81-71 with 56.3 seconds left.

Thanks to the steady performance of John Calvin Jabello and the steady free throw shooting of Justine Dacalos, UC is now a win away from clinching its first title since 2011.

UC’s win was characterized by its accuracy from the field, sinking 36 of 73, while UV and made only 26 of 74 shots.

UC also dominated the boards, 49-40, as well as the assists department, 22-10 while outscoring UV, 23-19, in second chance points. The Webmasters also had the advantage in fastbreak points, 29-11, and points off turnovers, 12-10. (RCM)