THE Cebu City Niños will be going to the championship round after surviving Cebu Province, 64-62, in a pulsating semifinal of the girls’ 5-on-5 basketball tournament of the Batang Pinoy National Championships yesterday.

Darline Ragasajo sank two pressure-packed free throws with 0.2 second left following an offensive rebound to bring Cebu City to the championship match against Pangasinan today at the St. Louis University.

Cebu Province was leading 62-61 with 16.5 seconds left but blew the opportunity as they turned the ball over and sent Maxine Magbanua to the free throw line with only 3.2 seconds left.

Magbanua made the first free throw to tie the game at 62 but missed the second shot, paving the way for Ragasajo’s offensive rebound, which led to a foul with 0.2 second left.

The Niños will be facing Pangasinan in the championship match of the inaugural 5-on-5 girls’ basketball tournament. The Niños earlier beat Pangasinan by seven points in the elimination round.

“It was all because of the efforts of the girls. They really wanted to make it to the finals. The bench told the players to not look at the score and stay focused on the game,” said coach Darwin Dinoy.

Cebu Province opened the game with a 16-4 burst but Cebu City was quick to fight back, bringing the deficit to 17-14 by the end of the first quarter. Cebu City stole the lead with a 29-25 edge at the half and was still up 50-48 going to the final quarter.

The Niños, who are represented by cagers from Abellana National School, lost to Cebu Province in the elimination round.

The Cebu City beach volleyball team is also going to the finals after beating Gen. Santos City in straight sets, 21-15. 21-12, at the beach volleyball court in Baguio City Athletic Bowl.

Hannah Xuyrah Cabansay and Natalia Reo Labiste, also from Abellana National School, will be facing Ponteverde, Bacolod, which beat Pagadian City in the other semis match.

Cebu City has the numbers against Ponterverde after winning their elimination round and also winning the Batang Pinoy regional championships match in Dumaguete last year.

“We want to get the gold medal because we prepared for this one since last year. We have sacrificed a lot to get here,” said Cabansay.

“For us to win it will need to have a crisp team work and court communication,” added Labiste.

In the unofficial medal count from the Cebu City Sports Commission (CCSC), Cebu City currently has 24 gold medals, 20 silvers and 23 bronzes at 2 p.m.