THE Sacred Heart School-Ateneo de Cebu Magis Eagles hung tough in the endgame, thanks to the clutch play of Mike Boniel and LA Casinillo to vanquish the reigning champions University of Cebu (UC) Baby Webmasters, 65-62, in the Cebu Schools Athletic Foundation Inc. (Cesafi) high school basketball tournament at the Cebu Coliseum on Saturday, Nov. 9, 2019.
Ateneo de Cebu’s win forged a three-way tie with UC and the University of the Visayas (UV) as all three teams ended the elimination round with identical 8-2 win-loss records.
Computations made by deputy commissioner Danny Duran saw UC claiming the top spot while Ateneo de Cebu rose to second. The two teams will have a twice-to-beat advantage in the semifinal round. UC will face off against the University of Southern Philippines Foundation while Ateneo de Cebu takes on UV.
It was a thrilling game that saw the game tied at 57-all after a three-pointer by UC’s King Balaga with 2:49 to go. However, the Magis Eagles uncorked an 8-2 run that featured two free-throws by Ariel Dinglasan, a short jumper by Raffy Celis, a layup by Casinillo and a midrange jumper by Boniel for a 65-59 lead, time down to 32.1 seconds.
UC pulled to within three after a triple by Isaiah Blanco and even got the ball back after Balaga stole the inbounds pass of Ateneo de Cebu. However, Blanco missed a potential game-tying three-pointer to hand the win to Ateneo de Cebu.
Boniel finished with 19 points, three rebounds and three assists while Celis had 14 markers. Dinglasan missed out on a double-double with his eight points and 14 rebounds.
Blanco led UC with 17 points while Luther Leonard contributed 15. Balaga ended up with 13 points for the Baby Webmasters.
Meanwhile, in the first game, the Cebu Eastern College (CEC) Dragons ended their season on a winning note as they edged the University of San Jose-Recoletos (USJ-R) Baby Jaguars, 72-68.
Dwight Buisa and Winston Bingil came up with baskets in crunchtime that helped CEC snatch the win and finish the season with a 6-4 (win-loss) record.
The Dragons were ahead by just one, 66-65, when Buisa made a very tough basket where he absorbed contact from his defender before banking in the shot to put CEC in front, 68-65. Bingil then stole the ball and scored on a lay-up to extend their lead to five, 70-65, with just 11 ticks to go.
USJ-R gained a glimmer of hope after Buisa fouled USJ-R forward Dilcer Gaviola who was shooting a three-pointer with eight ticks left. Gaviola then made all three free-throws to help the Jaguars pull to 68-70.
But CEC kept their cool and Peter Rosillo sank two free-throws to ice the victory.
Buisa finished the game with 21 points, nine rebounds and two assists while Bingil had 19 points and five boards. Kevin Guibao had 26 points, four boards, two assists, five steals and two blocks for USJ-R before fouling out late in the game.
The loss was a bitter end to what was supposed to be a promising season for USJ-R, which won the pre-season title, only to flounder at the start of the season and lose its first four games. It finished this season with a 4-6 card.