CEBU (Updated) -- The Southwestern University-Phinma Cobras are on the verge of dethroning the longtime champions University of the Visayas as they thwarted the Green Lancers, 70-66 in Game 1 of the Cebu Schools Athletic Foundation Inc. (CESAFI) men’s basketball finals at the jampacked Cebu Coliseum on Monday, November 18, 2019.

The Cobras can end its five-year title drought with a win in Game 2 on Thursday, November 21, at the same venue.

SWU-Phinma proved to be the steadier team down the stretch, getting a crucial mid-range jumper from Senegalese forward Lamine Thiam and then, a three-pointer from veteran wingman Shaquille Imperial to go up by six, 69-63, with just 52 seconds to go.

However, UV stayed alive after Froiland Maglasang swished a triple from the right-wing five seconds later. UV even had a chance to pull closer after Thiam got fouled and missed two free-throws.

However, SWU-Phinma point guard William Polican was quicker to the ball, grabbed the offensive rebound and then, was fouled with just 9.2 seconds left on the clock. The cagey point guard missed the first but canned the second to seal the victory for the Cobras.

Thiam led the way for SWU-Phinma with 16 points, 10 rebounds, four assists and four steals while Imperial had 14 markers, seven boards, three steals and three blocked shots.

Red Cachuela added 13 while Polican finished with 11 points.

Rookie guard Gabriel Cometa led UV with 17 points while Sheldon Gahi tallied 12. Lass Coulibally had 10 markers. (SunStar Cebu)